“The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost… As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us. Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.”
The words of this excerpt from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor Address to the nation delivered Dec. 8, 1941, called the entire country to action. Following this day 72 years ago, the Greatest Generation rose up from their farms, schoolhouses, daily jobs, and lives in cities and responded with superlative effort and devotion to ensure the preservation of the American way of life.
That generation was peerless and isolated due to the unique circumstances they labored through, until Sept. 11, 2001.
Finding unity after tragedy
“These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation… These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve…Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America…The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts… We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them…This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time.” - Excerpt from George Walker Bush’s Sept. 11 Address to the nation in 2001.
I am deeply saddened by the loss of life both immediately as a result of the aggressors, but also the long-term derailment of lives from the enduring wars following the attacks. The counterpoint to the losses on Dec. 7, 1941 and Sept. 11, 2001 is the unification of our country. Our resolve to continue as the paradigm of freedom, love, equality, and individual personal worth was undeniably strengthened by the losses we suffered.
As a nation, we live a legacy of valor. It's at the core of our work this year with The Patterson Foundation to honor veterans and their families, inspire patriotism and embrace freedom. As The Greatest Generation -- along with all of us -- remember the attacks on Pearl Harbor, most of us will relate to that day from our own experiences.
We have accepted the torch, we are carrying the flag, and we now safeguard the very principles for which they sacrificed so much. The American legacy of valor will carry forward.
Look around today and always recognize the spirit in the people. If you are motivated to contribute personally to those ideals and that legacy, please reach out to the local organizations committed to the same. If you don’t know where to start, then navigate to FreedomPassItOn.org and involve yourself with one of a 100 local partnerships, events and activities that honor our veterans, inspire patriotism, and embrace freedom.
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.
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