Remembering Pearl Harbor
Wednesday, December 7, marks the 70-year anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack only lasted two hours, but the event changed the landscape of World War II and marked the beginning of the end of Hitler’s attempt at world dominance.
The Japanese attack destroyed nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight enormous battleships, and almost 200 airplanes. Over 2,000 Americans soldiers and sailors died in the attack, and another 1,000 were wounded. I encourage you to take time this week to pay tribute to the soldiers and sailors that lost their lives during this attack.
It is very important that we never take freedom for granted. Living in the United States, oceans away from the nearest war, it is easy to forget the sacrifices our military personnel are making every day. Many of us do pay tribute to our soldiers on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but the sacrifices made by soldiers cannot truly be appreciated just two days per year. Please always remember the attack on Pearl Harbor. That event galvanized our nation then and can serve as an opportunity now to reflect and give thanks for the freedom that was preserved by the sacrifice of so many over the years.
There are many ways to show our appreciation. The Minnesotans’ Military Appreciation Fund (MMAF, http://www.thankmntroops.org/about.html) is a great way to say “thank you.” The MMAF is a statewide fundraising initiative that shows our troops how much we appreciate and respect their efforts by providing cash grants to all service members deployed in combat zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and to the families of service members who are killed in combat. The organization has raised over $12 million and has provided over $7.3 million in grants to more than 12,000 recipients. Visit their website for more details.
Local communities have also joined together to help our returning soldiers adjust to life as civilians. Called the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program, this program seeks to “unite all areas within a community to create a comprehensive network that connects and coordinates agencies, organizations, resources and employers for the purpose of proactively supporting service members and military families.” For more information about this great program or to see how you can get involved please visit: www.btyr.org.
Our local American Legion and VFW, and their Auxiliaries also provide needed support to our troops and their families. Visit http://vfw.org/ and http://americanlegionnorthstpaul.com/ to see how you can help these great organizations.
Finally, I encourage anyone with children to take some time this week to tell them what happened in Hawaii 70 years ago. As President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.”
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions regarding any issue. Please visit my Senate website at senate.mn/senatorwiger. I also encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?,” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16.