IN HONOR OF THE 63RD ANNIVERSARY OF PEARL HARBOR DAY, DECEMBER 7, 2004 -- (Extensions of Remarks - December 06, 2004)
Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, December 7, 2004, marks the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, a day, which like September 11, 2001, Americans will remember forever.
As the sun came up over the Pacific paradise of Oahu, Hawaii, on that Sunday morning in 1941, U.S. Navy Mess Attendant 1st Class Doris "Dorie" Miller should have been preparing the morning meal but never made it to the mess. Instead, he manned a machine gun on the deck of the U.S.S. West Virginia, and successfully shot down several enemy planes. Miller was awarded the Navy Cross for gallantry and continued to serve on active duty. On the morning of Nov. 24, 1943, Miller died when an explosion sank the U.S.S. Liscome Bay (CVE-56). Today, many Boys Clubs are named for U.S. Navy Mess Attendant 1st Class Doris Miller.
Since the Revolutionary War, the United States had rarely been attacked. Both Norfolk and Washington were threatened during the War of 1812. During the Spanish American War, port cities along the East Coast stood at high alert against possible attacks by Spanish forces sailing from Cuba. And 60 years after Pearl Harbor, our Nation was deliberately attacked by terrorist evil doers who wanted to do nothing more than kill innocent people-arguably in the hopes that it would scare freedom loving people into isolation.
During Pearl Harbor, many Americans, including some military commanders, had come to consider U.S. lands immune from enemy invasion. That feeling of immunity ended on the morning of December 7, 1941, when the Japanese Navy attacked the island of Oahu, Hawaii in two massive waves of carrier-based warplanes.
Sixty years later, many Americans felt immune once again, especially after the end of the Cold War. But, as terrorist-driven jet liners pounded into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, with a fourth plane falling out of the sky in rural Pennsylvania, we were reminded that history does indeed repeat itself-we are never immune from those who want to perpetuate evil.
The 2-hour Japanese attack sank 21 Navy ships, destroyed 185 military planes and killed 2,290 military personnel at bases throughout Hawaii, along with 48 civilians. Japan lost 29 planes and five midget submarines. The hull of the sunken U.S.S. Arizona became a tomb for 1,103 U.S. sailors.
From the death and destruction in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor rose a resolve to duty on the part of the American people that would culminate on September 2, 1945, with the surrender of Japan. And today, the American people share the same resolve-an undying commitment to defeat the evil of terrorism. History will repeat itself. We will prevail.