Today marks the 71th anniversary of one of the most significant dates in American history.
" Dec. 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy," President Franklin D. Roosevelt described it in his famous speech delivered moments before Congress passed a formal declaration of war against the Empire of Japan, officially catapulting the United States into World War II.
It was on that date Japanese forces launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Navy's Pacific fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. The unannounced attack - while the United States and Japan were still engaged in peaceful negotiations of policies as war raged in Europe and began spreading to the Pacific - has become synonymous with a "sucker punch."
Not unlike the cowardly terrorist attacks that surprised the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, the "sucker punch" approach against America has proven to bring two sure results. It provokes a full U.S. military response and ignites widespread patriotic solidarity among American citizens.
U.S. involvement in World War II waged on for nearly four years after the Pearl Harbor attack. The Allies rose to victory over the Axis powers in 1945. The victory over Japan came by way of a controversial measure - the dropping of atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
A total of more than 70 million people from nations across the globe perished as a result of fighting in World War II, and most of them were civilians. It was the most deadly conflict in human history.
The lessons of war - especially those learned as a result of the events of World War II - teach us that modern technology has given people the capability to not only defeat their enemies, but destroy human existence completely.
While sometimes it is necessary to use military force in order to maintain peace, diplomacy should always be favored over bloodshed.
With the passage of time, we're losing those from the "Greatest Generation." As we remember Pearl Harbor and Dec. 7, 1941, we salute not only our brave veterans of WWII, but the civilians on the home front who also became swept into the throes of a war that called on everyone's support. It is their fight, heroism, resolve and unifying determination that set the bar for American patriotism. The price for their role in history hopefully paid for a lasting lesson about mankind's limits when it comes to warfare, and that we never want to see a war of that magnitude again.