Dates that will live in infamy

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 7, 2001

On Dec.

Friday, December 07, 2001

On Dec. 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a message asking Congress to declare war on Japan, called the previous day "a date which will live in infamy."

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President Roosevelt could not have imagined those simple, yet powerful words would turn out to be one of the most famous phrases in American history. He probably never dreamed they would be a source of inspiration 60 years later. At the time, he was likely just writing down what was on his mind.

On Dec. 7, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Thousands of soldiers and civilians were killed. Twenty-one ships were damaged or destroyed. More than half of the aircraft was wiped out.

The attach happened 60 years ago today, and even though the fanfare for such historic dates is usually reserved for the 25th, 50th or 100th anniversaries, this observance is arguably the most significant.

Although by different circumstances, our country was once again attacked – unprovoked – just a little less than three months ago. And, as was the case in 1941, America had no alternative but to engage in a war.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, many repeated President Roosevelt’s famous expression and some even compared the two tragedies.

With the World War II veterans becoming fewer and fewer each year, the "date which will live in infamy" could have had less of a meaning to the people who were just kids when it happened. It could have been just another date to those who had not been born when it happened. The events that have transpired since Sept. 11, however, will keep both of these tragic days in the minds of Americans for many years to come.

The two dates – Dec. 7, 1941 and Sept. 11, 2001 will forever be linked as the "dates which will live in infamy."