On Dec. 7, 1941 - 71 years ago today - thousands of young U.S. servicemen and women stationed at Pearl Harbor Naval Base and Hickam Air Field, just outside Honolulu, Hawaii, awakened to what was expected to be another Sunday in paradise.
That illusion ended at approximately 7:51 a.m., when planes from the Japanese aircraft carriers that had steamed to within a few miles of the base began bombing the unsuspecting bases. Before the morning had ended, approximately 2,402 Americans were killed - including 1,177 from the battleship USS Arizona. The U.S. fleet was decimated and Americans, whether they knew it then or not, were at war.
It was, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt told Congress the next day in seeking a declaration of war against Japan, "a date which shall live in infamy."
Now, 71 years after that date, the young servicemen and women who survived that day are old men and women. Most are, unfortunately, no longer with us. We who are still here are left to carry on for them and ensure the bravery of what those sailors and soldiers endured that morning - and in the dark four years that followed - is never forgotten.
Pearl Harbor is still remembered. The biggest remembrances are usually reserved for anniversaries that end in zero, such as last year on the 70th anniversary of the attack. Such is the way of history.
However, we hope today - the 71st anniversary of the attack - people will take a moment out of their busy day and think about those men and women of another generation who answered the country's call after Pearl Harbor and marched on the long, bloody road of World War II that followed.