On Dec. 8, 1941, President Roosevelt declared, “Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941— a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked …” He was referring, of course, to the massive attack on our Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. That attack left our nation stunned and shaken. It transformed our country—ending our isolationism, awakening a mighty war machine and economic engine, marking America’s acceptance of world leadership, and reinforcing the invaluable lesson of always being prepared to defend our freedom.
Today, we honor the almost 3,600 Americans killed or wounded at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago. And we remember America’s greatest generation—those who came forward to answer a great challenge: 16 million took up arms in the struggle, while Americans of every age and walk of life contributed to the war effort.