December 7th marks the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack killed 2,403 U.S. personnel, including 68 civilians, and destroyed or damaged 19 U.S. Navy ships, including 8 battleships. The three aircraft carriers of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were out to sea on maneuvers. This catastrophe led to the American entry into World War II. This attack changed American forever. In his speech to Congress requesting a declaration of war, President Roosevelt called it a day that will live in infamy. The war dragged on until two events turned the tide for the Americans; the first was the Marines’ successful invasion of Guadacanal that ended in the defeat of the Japanese. The second was the naval battle of Midway Islands that took a heavy toll of American and Japanese battleships and airplanes, but in the end the Americans won. By the end of the Pacific war, the U.S. had lost 364,748 killed and wounded and had 21,580 missing.
We also note the 76th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge that took place in Bastogne, Belgium, from December 16, 1944, to January 1945. It was the most significant battle of the war after Normandy. The American and British Armies were outnumbered and low on supplies. The Armies also had to content with snow and frigid temperatures. At one point the Germans sent a letter to General Anthony McCauliffe demanding that the Allies surrender; he replied to the order with the word “Nuts.” The battle continued until General Patton’s 3rd Army came to the rescue. With the end of this battle World War II came to an end in April. The casualties included 90,000 Allies and 100,000 Germans.
What happened at Pearl Harbor and Bastogne should give us pause and reflect on the courage of those Navy, Marines, Army and Airmen that defeated our enemies, and kept our freedoms alive. Post 69 had many members from World War II. Our Post will always salute their heroism and will always remember their sacrifice to save our great country.
—George Sahady for the members of the Post.