Pearl Harbor at 69: Can we survive the attack from within?

December 7, 2010

Three score and nine years ago today, morning colors across the United States Pacific fleet were violently interrupted by naval air forces of the empire of Japan.

The underhanded nature of the attack stirred an anger in the American people not seen before and unleashed a wrath that would leave the Japanese admirals forever wishing they had never stirred the once “sleeping giant.”

The utter devastation and urgency of the time overshadowed Washington’s overwhelming failure to see the warnings, that if heeded, would have saved countless lives. An entire nation resolved to do but one thing: the complete and unequivocal defeat of the enemy.

A testament to that resolve, of the eight battleships sunk or damaged that morning, half were repaired and returned to the fleet before the end of ’42, the West Virginia and California followed by the summer of ’44, and while the Oklahoma was too badly damaged to return to active service, she was returned upright in ’43 and saw her guns and superstructure salvaged to battle on.

Yet the testament to history most remembered is not found in those returned to battle but in the one forever lost, the USS Arizona.

With more than 1,100 of her crew still entombed below her shattered decks she still weeps her tears of oil as if she’s signaling to us topside that though the war may long ago been won, so too was so much forever lost.

Though the Arizona never fired another shot post Dec. 7, she remains forever vigilant in her duty as both a reminder and a warning.

A reminder of the sacrifices made by those of a past generation who were on the front line of freedom that fateful morning.

A warning to the treachery of nations and the dangers of complacency. A warning that without vigilance and forethought any given peaceful morning can see the sun set on a most tragic of days.

A warning that no matter how many “dates of infamy” we find ourselves remembering there is at any given time another just waiting to burst forth.

And it is in that time that we find ourselves today, this Dec. 7, 2010. Remembering the sacrifice and pain of the past while clouds of warning blanket the present.

On this day of remembrance, we should all take heed that Washington is once again receiving warnings of an impending attack.

An attack that if not thwarted will deliver unto this nation a level of destruction and devastation far worse than the carnage that enveloped Pearl Harbor that fateful day. An attack that will take not years but decades to recover (If recoverable at all).

But unlike the enemy of those years now past, this one hides in plain site. It stares back at us each and every morning as we scamper about in our ignorant bliss. It laughs as the larger it grows the more it’s ignored. It feeds upon Washington’s ineptitude and sniping.

It is our national debt and it is fast approaching a size and strength that makes the Japanese imperial navy of the day look like nothing more than bathtub toys.

Economic ruin can kill just as easily and leave a scourge just as devastating as bullets and bombs and it is a ruin that is most assuredly coming if course not corrected.

The underhanded nature in which many politicians are dealing with this current impending attack should stir in the heart of every American today that same anger and resolve that roused a nation from its slumber and propelled a generation to greatness.

To not protect those freedoms and ideals today that so many died defending those years ago is to dishonor their memory in perhaps the worst way of all. For it is one thing to die in battle defending freedom, but it’s quite another to allow others to die while running away.

The ranks of those who survived the attack are fast succumbing to the march of time.

It is the duty of each and every American today to not let the last one pass forced to bear the pain of seeing the nation that emerged victorious from the brutal attack that was Pearl Harbor, defeated from within that has become the entitlement mind.

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