Its not difficult for me to remember my eldest daughter’s birthday since it falls on December 7th, the anniversary of the Japanese Empire’s attack on Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii, way back in 1941. Several years ago, to celebrate her graduation from medical school, we were fortunate enough to take a family trip to the Hawaiian Islands, where I dutifully attempted to explain how the attack went down while standing at the mouth of the harbor, just in sight of the Arizona Memorial. I’m not sure if my family understood the gravity of the attack or how it took place that fateful day, as I pointed towards the low mountains in the distance which were used by the Japanese aviators to mask their approach as they began their aerial assaults.
Anyway, 75 years have passed since the surprise attack, which drew our nation into World War II, easily the greatest conflict in human history. On a personal level, I also remember showing my family where the surrender documents were signed by all parties concerned on board the USS Missouri, which is berthed, rather fittingly, just behind the USS Arizona, signifying both the start and end of the Second World War in the Pacific. So, while we celebrate this day as a means of honoring our daughter and her vast achievements, we also take a moment to reflect on what the attack meant to the greatest generation in American history, their role in safeguarding our way of life, and price paid so that my daughter, and others like her, could celebrate their lives as free and productive members of society.