Alan Sears

During the Christmas season, we actually tend to be more thankful for things that we more easily overlook at other times of the year. Things as foundational as family, friends, and a warm place to lay our heads at night become focal points.

Americans also seem to be keenly aware of the sacrifice members of our military make in being apart from their families throughout the Christmas season. And with the 70th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor upon us, the sacrifices our military makes on our behalf should be more paramount in our minds.

December 7, 1941 was a Sunday which started like any other. It was “just another day” in American life, where individuals both in and out of the military around Oahu, Hawaii had their coffee, ate breakfast, went to church, and/or went about whatever morning business they needed to handle.

The American experience was simply that—it was the “norm” to which we were accustomed at the leisurely pace which we took for granted.

Yet at dawn on that Sunday, 200 miles out from Pearl Harbor, a Japanese taskforce was preparing to attack. Their numbers were significant—six heavy aircraft carriers accompanied by 24 supporting vessels, along with a separate group of submarines to sink any American warships which escaped the Japanese carrier force—and their goal was to cripple the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

At approximately 7 a.m., the Japanese launched their attack, and an hour later, ships docked at Pearl Harbor were bombarded with Japanese ordnance.

Although there were 90 ships in total sitting like ducks for the Japanese to sink, the Japanese initially focused their weapons on the battleships. And within the first 30 minutes of their attack, they had sunk the USS West Virginia and USS Oklahoma. They had taken the USS Arizona out of the game with an explosion that killed nearly 1,200 crewmen. The USS California, USS Maryland, USS Tennessee, and USS Nevada had all also been hit within the first half hour of the attacks.

Alan Sears

Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.