Freedom - Never Forget
"Yesterday, December seventh, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."
Those words, spoken by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on December 8, 1941 about the attack on Pearl Harbor, launched our country into World War II, to fight enemies in Europe and Asia and defend our freedom and way of life. Today, December 7, 2006, is the 65th anniversary of that attack.
Our world today faces similar threats to our safety and way of life. On September 11, 2001 we saw attacks on our homeland - the destruction of the World Trade Center Towers and the attack on the Pentagon - that took more American lives than the Pearl Harbor attack more than a half century ago. Since that date our leaders have been attempting to thwart the threat posed by radical factions in the Middle East, to, in their words, "fight them over there now instead of having to fight them here later."
Our country is in turmoil about the progress of the War on Terror. Political opportunists on both sides of the aisle have attempted to make political hay at the expense of the men and women in our armed forces who face an ethereal enemy every day and suffer casualties in the defense of our freedoms. Such relentless criticism is, at the very least, a distraction from the conduct of the war. At worst, it gives comfort and encouragement to those enemies who have stated their intent to destroy this country - to wipe it from the earth.
Today I ask each of you to look around you and view all the things we take for granted. We complain about traffic and the cost of fuel, but forget to be grateful for the opportunity to own a car and to travel wherever we choose in this country.
We complain about the rising cost of homes, yet forget to be grateful for the opportunity to purchase one, period.
We complain about our leaders, yet forget to be grateful for the opportunity to vote them out of office if we choose to do so.
We complain about our government and our leaders, yet forget to be grateful for the ability to do so.
Today I ask you to look at the image at the top of this page. It is the cross on Mt. Soledad, in San Diego, and the adjacent American Flag. This cross, which sits as the centerpiece of a memorial to veterans of our many wars, has been under attack for nearly two decades. To me, that attack symbolizes the attacks on our country here and afar. I took this photograph last spring during a visit to the memorial and view it frequently as a reminder of what a wonderful country this is and what we, as citizens, must do to protect it.
On this day, an anniversary of a day of "infamy", please join me as I repeat the Pledge of Allegiance to our Flag:
I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you for reading these pages, and for commenting on them when you are moved to do so. This is just one more freedom worth defending.
I'll leave you today with one more quotation, from a man who did as much as any other in the middle of the last century to defend our country and the freedom of the world:
Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die. ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower.