Salem News Editorial: History was forever changed 68 years ago

Roundup: Talking About History

It was the most profound sneak attack in the history of man. At exactly 7:55 a.m., on Dec. 7, 1941 the United States was suddenly plunged into a great conflict that would become World War II. The Imperial Japanese Navy struck at Pearl Harbor. And struck hard.

The United States' Pacific Fleet was ravaged. The Japanese sank four battleships, three cruisers and three destroyers. Destroyed were 188 American aircraft. Wounded were 1,282 service personnel. The American death total numbered 2,402.

What took the Japanese mere minutes to do on a beautiful Sunday morning was destined to forever alter world history. The attack - a surprise and unprovoked - stirred patriotism which remains unchallenged. Public opinion, which had favored isolationism, emerged as support for direct participation in the war. The sleeping giant had indeed been rudely awakened. He was angry.

The United States did participate in war. It won wars on both sides of the globe; a feat that ranks as the greatest achievement in our country's history...

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