As most of you probably realize, today is Pearl Harbor Day. Sixty-four years ago, early on a sunny Sunday morning, Japanese aircraft struck the U.S. Pacific Fleet as it lay at anchor. Within a few hours twelve warships were sunk or damaged, 188 planes destroyed (almost all of them on the ground), and some 2,400 American servicemen (and another 68 civilians) were dead.
This morning I was on a local radio show talking about the attack, and the host asked me what its legacy was. I told him that the country would never be the same again. In 1940 most Americans were dismayed at the German conquest of France, but did not see it as an urgent matter of national security. By 1950 Americans had become convinced that just about any nation, including South Korea, was vital to the nations defense. It was Pearl Harbor that brought about this colossal shift in American perceptions about the countrys role in world affairs.
For those who would like to commemorate the day by learning more about the events of December 7, I recommend the National Geographic site remembering Pearl Harbor.