Op-Ed: The Day Sleeping American Patriots Awoke

“I worry that all we have accomplished is stirring a dormant force and fueling it with a fierce determination.”

“The attack on Pearl Harbor was a strategic move that caught the United States off guard,” stated Naval Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto on December 7, 1941.

Seventy-eight years ago, on December 7, 1941, Japan launched an attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, using a fleet of 353 warplanes. The deteriorating relations between the United States and Japan can be traced back to Japan’s invasion of China in 1937. As a response, the United States halted the export of essential resources like oil and metals to Japan. Previously, the United States had refrained from interfering, considering Japan as a trading partner. However, when Japan and Germany signed the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1936, the United States saw the need to take action to curb Japan’s aggression towards China and its aspirations for a global military empire alongside Germany and Italy. The United States had hoped to avoid conflict through its hands-off foreign policies, but it soon became clear that more decisive measures were required.

The attack on U.S. soil that occurred over two hours was the most devastating in history. During this time, Japanese warplanes managed to sink or severely damage 18 U.S. warships and completely destroy 200 military aircraft. It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the sacrifice of over 3,000 American servicemen and civilians who lost their lives on this fateful day, as they bravely faced the horrors of war in their quest for freedom.

A sense of fear, discouragement, and anger spread throughout the United States, but the nation stood determined as President Roosevelt urged Congress to declare war against Japan. The following day, Congress fulfilled his request. In a matter of days, Germany, Italy, and Japan retaliated by declaring war on the U.S. This sudden turn of events caused America to swiftly change its stance. With newfound patriotic fervor, the United States joined forces with Great Britain and the Soviet Union, setting aside their previous opposition to the war, as they embarked on what would become the largest global conflict in history.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a double-edged sword, bringing both success and failure. On one hand, it provided the Japanese with a significant advantage by allowing them to easily invade Malaya, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies. It also helped them avoid a two-front war. However, Admiral Yamamoto miscalculated the reaction of the Americans if he failed to destroy the U.S. carrier force. By launching a surprise attack on a Sunday morning without declaring war and causing the deaths of thousands of Americans, he inadvertently rallied the American public behind the war. Their previously uncertain stance shifted dramatically after the first bomb struck!

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“May our enemies find mercy from God, for we shall not show any!”

“Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.” – General George Patton

It has been reported that Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto remarked, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve,” following the attack. While there is debate about whether or not he actually said this, there is no doubt that the American sleeping giant was awakened that day! Instead of succumbing immediately, those who were targeted quickly accessed their weapons lockers, grabbed ammunition, and loaded their guns to fight back. Army pilots courageously evaded bombs and bullets as they made their way to their planes to retaliate against the attackers. Many selflessly prioritized the safety of their fellow countrymen and put their lives on the line to save others. The Japanese notion that Americans would surrender easily was shattered within minutes.

The United States found itself in a precarious situation, facing formidable adversaries on three fronts. It had to strategize for war in Europe and the Pacific simultaneously. To confront these challenges head-on, America swiftly mobilized its forces, calling upon patriots from every state and all walks of life to volunteer. Additionally, approximately 10 million individuals were recruited through the draft. The nation recognized the urgency and worked diligently to mobilize its resources, transforming existing industries into efficient war machines. By aligning government, industry, and labor, the country united to meet the demands of a war that threatened the very essence of democracy. There was a collective understanding among Americans that victory must be achieved at any cost.

“When there is a strong determination, the challenges become insignificant.”

“Politics have no relation to morals.”

– Niccolo Machiavelli

While our brave soldiers were actively engaging in strategic campaigns in Europe and the Pacific, the impact of war was shaping American life in profound ways. Ordinary citizens found themselves fighting a different kind of battle on their own soil – the battle to survive with minimal resources. This sacrifice was necessary as our soldiers relied on supplies and ammunition to carry out their missions. The successful outcome of D Day, a pivotal moment in history, may not have been possible without the incredible feats of production and the sacrifices made by the American people on the home front. We bravely met the needs of our troops on all battlefronts across the globe. Businesses, laborers, farmers, and citizens demonstrated the indomitable spirit of America, showcasing what our nation was capable of. President Franklin D. Roosevelt aptly referred to this collective effort as the “Arsenal of Democracy.”

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During World War II, there were widespread shortages of everyday items, leading to the implementation of rationing as a way of life for Americans. In May 1943, Buying Cards were introduced, with red stamps rationing meat, butter, fat, and oils, while blue stamps were used for canned and frozen foods, fruits, and juices. Even items like dry beans, ketchup, and baby food were subject to rationing. War Ration Books held more value than the dollar itself, as they authorized families to purchase commodities only if they were available. As a result, citizens had to adapt and make the most of what they had, rather than focusing on what they needed.

“We’re here to win this war, by any means necessary,” he emphasized.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” – Franklin Roosevelt

During World War II, the American government launched an extensive campaign to encourage support for the war effort. Through various mediums such as advertisements, radio shows, posters, and letters, citizens were urged to contribute to the cause. Rationing played a significant role in conserving essential resources. Beyond food items, rationing also extended to clothing, shoes, coffee, gasoline, tires, fuel, and oil. The allocation of gas and tires was based on factors like the distance one traveled and the importance of their job. Any unused ration stamps at the end of the month were safeguarded for emergencies. Despite the challenges imposed by these restrictions, there was a prevailing sense of unity among Americans, who willingly made sacrifices to aid their country. A war poster conveyed the message, “Do with less so they’ll have enough,” while another urged citizens to demonstrate their patriotism by signing a pledge to save food.

During times of war, the financial burden falls on the shoulders of the public. In order to fund the war efforts, citizens actively participated by purchasing and selling war bonds. The promotion of U.S. Treasury bonds played a significant role in boosting our money supply. For the people, investing in war bonds meant investing in their own security. By buying a $25 bond for $19, the government was able to allocate funds for essential resources such as uniforms, weapons, medicine, food, and other supplies necessary for victory. While it took time for the bond to yield a return, with a $6 profit earned over a decade on a $19 investment, Americans willingly embraced this patriotic obligation. They recognized that their dividend was a triumph for world liberty and freedom.

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Quillbot re-write:
“Someone once said, ‘War unites what politics divides.’ Since its inception, America has been a country marked by division. However, in times of bloodshed on our soil, patriots have consistently come together. They fought with fierce passion during the Revolutionary War, World War II, and on September 11, 2001. In the face of these attacks, American patriots set aside their differences and joined forces to defeat a common enemy. Through their actions, they demonstrated that America is not a nation built on fear, but rather one built on courage. The survival of America can be attributed to the unity of patriots who rallied under our flag, determined to fight and emerge victorious.”

Defeatism has never been the path to peace throughout the history of humanity.

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” This famous quote by General Douglas MacArthur encapsulates the enduring spirit and resilience of veterans.

On Memorial Day, we pay tribute to the brave individuals who prioritized our nation over their political and social disparities in order to safeguard our freedom. It is an opportune moment to contemplate the remarkable accomplishments we could achieve if we were to set aside our differences and collaborate for the betterment of our country. Now, more than ever, America requires a unified patriotic endeavor to fortify our republic and preserve our cherished liberties. Deep down, we understand that it does not necessitate a conflict for us to join forces and work collectively for the greater good of our beloved nation.

United we stand, but if we ever forget, the enemy will divide and conquer us.

“Placing individuals at the forefront has consistently been the United States’ hidden advantage. It is the approach that has preserved the essence of our revolutions, a spirit that propels us to envision, take bold initiatives, and embark on significant endeavors for a collective benefit.”

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan

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