December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor Day: A Message from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Photo: a rippling American flag
             Few dates in American history are as deeply burned into our consciousness as December 7, 1941.  Seventy years ago today, American forces on Oahu, Hawai’i, withstood an unprovoked attack, and the fleet at Pearl Harbor suffered devastating losses.  More than 2,400 Americans were killed, many great ships of the Pacific Fleet lay torn and burning, and our Nation was thrust headlong into the largest global conflict in human history.

Pearl Harbor reminds us not only of a solemn chapter in American history, but also of the great courage and resolve displayed by stalwart defenders in fighting off the attackers that day—qualities that have continued to define each succeeding serving generation, including today’s young men and women in uniform.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) honors the memory of those who gave their lives that day, as well as those who fought and survived.  Inspired by their valor and selflessness, America emerged from Pearl Harbor determined to triumph in the ensuing battle against tyranny.  VA also salutes the many courageous Hawaiians who responded to the attack on their home soil by joining the U.S. military and going on to serve with considerable distinction. 

VA honors, remembers, and thanks those who stood the watch and fought off the attacks of December 7, 1941.  May God bless you and your families, and may God continue to bless our great Nation.

Eric K. Shinseki
Secretary of Veterans Affairs

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