When Franklin D. Roosevelt declared the 7th of December a date of “infamy,” the world recoiled in collective horror at the shocking attacks of the empire of Japan.
Admiral Yamamoto feared the American response, famously quoted as saying, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
It took years of horrific fighting in the Pacific, but the United States finally managed to hop from island to island; slowly but surely, they pushed the deadly rising sun back.
Thousands of brave Marines and sailors died in now-famous battles: Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Guam, Midway, Wake. But after four years of all-out war, Japan finally surrendered when they faced the possibility of total annihilation.
But it all started that one horrible Sunday morning. And for the 18 men who were there that famous day, they had a lot of things to contemplate. The youngest in his late 80s, these men all decided to come to Pearl Harbor for one last time. They swapped stories, they dressed in their old uniforms, they laughed, and they cried.
These men were there the day the world stopped turning, and they were there to fight the good fight.
Seventy-four years later, these men have forgiven the Japanese, and the Japanese often find themselves traveling to Pearl Harbor to honorably ask for forgiveness. Nowadays, we see them as our friends and brothers. These brave men were there that day, and generations later, they’re finally getting the closure they’ve always dreamed of.
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