Pearl Harbor was attacked 76 years ago today, Dec. 7, 1941. The Imperial Japanese Naval Air Service made a surprise strike that day against the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. The day after the attack, to a Joint Session of Congress, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his famous “Infamy” speech. He called for a formal declaration of war on the Empire of Japan. Congress obliged his request less than an hour later. Dec. 8, 1941, Roosevelt signed the declaration of war against Imperial Japan.
Also known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor, the unexpected military attack came as a profound shock to the American people. The attack led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters.
On that day, 132 American servicemen distinguished themselves in combat at Pearl Harbor. To that end, 15 Medals of Honor, 51 Navy Crosses, 53 Silver Stars, four Navy and Marine Corps Medals, one Distinguished Flying Cross, four Distinguished Service Crosses, one Distinguished Service Medal, and three Bronze Star Medals were bestowed for bravery that day. These members of our Armed Forces served with valor. They probably did not consider themselves heroes but there are many who beg to differ.
Nov. 5, 1990, Congress established a bronze commemorative medal for veterans of Pearl Harbor. The Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal, also known as the Pearl Harbor Survivor’s Medal, was awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States and who were present in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941. Recipients of this medal participated in combat operations that day against Japanese military forces attacking Hawaii.
Walk through Bethlehem
Picture it. Dec. 7, 2006. An outdoor staging of a real Bethlehem market at First Baptist Church of Loganville.
It was 30 degrees outside. The beautiful cobalt blue sky was filled with stars.
Located out in the country, Loganville is far away from city lights. Therefore, the clear sky was a magnificent sight.
Groups of 10 people at a time were ushered to the city gate. We were given a coin so that we could pay the tax. Our tour guide warned us that the Roman soldiers were tired and cranky from having to deal with all the many citizens in town for the census.
When we arrived at the City gate, we encountered those Roman soldiers, some of whom were on horseback. Indeed, they were cranky and short with us even though we dutifully paid the tax. With that unpleasant task out of the way, we enjoyed the market.
The various merchants, dressed in period costume, had booths from which they sold their goods and services. There was an array of things from which to choose. We could actually buy salt, baskets, figs, fish, olives and olive oil, perfumes and beautiful silk.
The marvelous aroma of fresh baked bread wafted over the market. We took our time sampling wares, talking with the merchants, and we enjoyed listening to the storytellers.
The Rabbis were all dressed in proper Rabbinical robes … and Nike tennis shoes. They said, with their heavy southern accents, “Would you like us to pray with you?” The last booth in the market, it was my favorite.
We continued to the hillside where the shepherds were taking care of their sheep. We warmed ourselves by the fire.
Onward we went to the live Nativity. This is what we came to see. There was a donkey, sheep, oxen and a lamb. Kittens tumbled over one another playing in the straw. Greeted by the shepherds, the Three Wise Men, Mary and Joseph, and an angel, we then saw the baby Jesus.
It was very quiet and peaceful. We gazed reverently on this most impressive scene and it was soon time to go.
As I headed for the car, I happened to see a shooting star. It was the perfect ending to a perfect evening.
Pearl Harbor and Bethlehem are worlds apart.
What took place long ago in Bethlehem is vastly different than the events which took place at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. A day of infamy. We honor the veterans who served at Pearl Harbor as well as in the war which followed.
We reverently remember what took place in Bethlehem long ago … a day which changed us forever.
Native Roman Pam Walker is a busy paralegal, and welcomes your email to her at email@example.com.