Sunday's lesson, 67 years later

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Edward L. Bolton, Jr.
  • 45th SW commander
"Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger."

Sounds familiar doesn't it? Like it could be said today?

Well, these words were spoken 67 years ago last Monday by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, one day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, setting American involvement in WWII - on two fronts - into motion. Nazi Germany, which already controlled a vast empire half way around the world, declared war on the United States just four days after the Pearl Harbor attack.

Some of these real-life heroes were remembered and honored at a somber ceremony Monday, hosted by the Air Force Technical Applications Center. I thank all the men and women from AFTAC - and I salute those who were honored.

Back then, President Roosevelt called it a "day that will live in infamy," where more than 2,400 people died during the attack, and a vast number of aircraft and ships were destroyed. It was, at that time, the most devastating enemy attack ever in the United States. Yet, the United States didn't break and rebounded with the American can-do spirit that has made this nation great.

"The generation of World War II taught the world's tyrants a telling lesson: There is no power like the power of freedom - and no soldier as strong as a soldier who fights for a free future for his children," said President Bush.

Nearly 60 years later, on Sept. 11, 2001, our nation was once again attacked on our home soil, where nearly 3,000 people died. And, once again, we are fighting wars on two fronts, both in Iraq and Afghanistan.

President Bush also called today's troops fighting the Global War on Terror "a new generation of Americans every bit as brave and selfless as those who have come before them," he said. "And once again, with perseverance and courage and confidence in the power of freedom, a new generation of Americans will leave a more hopeful and peaceful world for generations to come," President Bush said.

The president was talking about you.

Whether you are here processing and launching satellites and launch vehicles, or serving outside-the-wire in some dangerous, remote hotspot in the desert, you too are participating in defending the freedom people sometimes take for granted.

We, as a nation, can't ever forget the sacrifices that were made at Pearl Harbor, at the Twin Towers, at the Pentagon and in a remote field in Western Pennsylvania.

We've got too much to lose. And it won't happen on our watch. Be safe this holiday season. Go Sharks!