Sunday, December 7, 2014

DEC. 7, 1941 Day of Infamy

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 7, 2014

Here is part of the speech FDR gave to congress and the American people on December 8, 1941
"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.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God."

Can we actually win the battle our veterans fight back home? Are we determined? Are we committed? This enemy has claimed more lives after combat for decades.
DEC. 7, 1941 Witness to a Day of Infamy
Hampton woman recalls watching attack on Pearl Harbor
Seacoast Online
By Suzanne Laurent
The wreckage of the USS Arizona burns after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
U.S. Navy photo

HAMPTON – Ramona Otis vividly recalls the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when she was awakened by a loud pounding on the door of her living quarters in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, around 7 a.m.

“A young boy was yelling, ‘The Japanese are bombing Hawaii!’” Otis, 97, recalls. “I couldn’t figure out why they would do that as the Island of Hawaii didn't have any significance.”

Her husband, Donald, was a lieutenant in the U.S. Marines 6th Defense Battalion, then stationed on Midway Island in the North Pacific Ocean in an advance detail to set up defenses.

Otis was living with another Marine couple, Zelma and Gene Boles, because military housing was scarce at the time. Just 24 years old at the time, Otis had her first child with her, 7-month-old Nancy, when she arrived from San Diego, Calif.

“I woke up the Boles after the boy came to the door, and Gene told me to go back to bed, that the boy was ‘hopped up',” Otis said. “After a while, there seemed to be a lot of commotion outside, so I turned on the radio.”

Otis said the governor of Hawaii was urging everyone to stay calm and stay indoors. Otis recalled the governor’s voice was shaky.

“I looked out my kitchen window toward Pearl Harbor and saw all the little planes with the orange suns on the side flying over and the bombs dropping and plumes of smoke,” Otis said. “I just sat there with Nancy on my lap.”

“After the first wave, there was a pause, and then the second wave came over to finish off any ship that had survived,” she said. “After that, we all sat around and waited to be invaded. Why we weren’t, I’ll never know. I’m sure the large Japanese population in Honolulu would have welcomed them.”

The barrage on the naval base at Pearl Harbor lasted just two hours, but the Japanese managed to destroy 21 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, and 188 aircraft, according the Navy History and Heritage website.

More than 2,400 Americans died in the attack, including 68 civilians, and another 1,178 were wounded. The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan.
read more here

George William Davis entered the Army three days after Pearl Harbor and served for nearly four years in battles against the Axis powers in North Africa, Sicily, France, Belgium and Germany.

He received a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in battle, as well as Campaign Stars for Algeria-French Morocco (North Africa), Sicily, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe (Germany).

He was granted an honorable discharge and received the Good Conduct Medal, a special Belgian award (the Belgian Fouraguri) and he also received a Silver Star for gallantry, seven Bronze Stars and a Bronze Arrowhead.

Davis kept his actions from his family until his son-in-law wanted to find out about what history had to say.
A Camp Pendleton Marine who joined the Corps in 1942, retired earlier this month (Feb. 2014)from his civilian job at Camp Pendleton.

Sgt. Maj. Walter Valentine, 89, served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam over three decades with the Marines and then spent another three decades helping comrades make a smooth transition into civilian life when they retire.

After Valentine finished boot camp at Camp Lejeune, NC in 1942, he joined the 3rd Marine Division and headed for combat in the Pacific as a scout sniper.

He was in the assault landing of Bougainville, now Papua New Guinea, in November 1943, then headed to Guadalcanal for more combat training. Later he participated in the assault landing that recaptured the island of Guam and fought in the battle of Iwo Jima, where he earned a Purple Heart.
“I will never forget the flag rising at Iwo Jima,” Valentine said.

Donald Lesch, a veteran of three wars, said his wife knew to wake him carefully, and only by shaking his left foot.

“It was the method we had in World War II to wake each other safely when changing sentry guard duty,” Lesch said.

Lesch, 91, was awarded the U.S. Army Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star, a number of battle stars, and decorations from the Vietnamese and Korean governments for his service in WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

“I have post-traumatic stress disorder mainly from WWII, but actually from all the wars, and I was exposed to Agent Orange in the Vietnam War. I have a 100 percent service-connected disability,” Lesch said.

He said he may have survived three wars, but he still keeps the curtains drawn at his northeast Ocala home because of a deep-seated fear of sniper fire.

It is hard to believe all that is going on right now actually could have been worse. What we now call PTSD has been studied for 100 years.
Doctor Thomas Salmon, a civilian psychiatrist who voluntarily went to the front during WWI to study, diagnose and treat mentally broken soldiers. He's the first U.S. Army psychiatrist and the first to recognize PTSD."

By the time soldiers were being evacuated for psychological problems during WWII, there were 300% more of them from WWI. Seems the military learned little from WWI.

It isn't that they were not suffering from the same thing Afghanistan and Iraq veterans face. It was just called something else. "Shell shock" is the term used back then. With WWI it was "war neuroses" but as the term changed with generations, the fact remained that war came home with them.

During the Korean War they tried something different and clinicians were sent with the troops so that as soon as they started to have problems, they were pulled out of combat zones, given therapy and sent back to duty. Only 3% of the evacuations were for psychological reasons.

With Vietnam it was the one year deployment and then back home. Very little time to understand PTSD setting in and even less time to do something for them.

With WWII, everyone was involved. If they were "able bodied" they went. Either they joined or they were drafted. If not, then they were working jobs devoted to backing up the soldiers. Everyone had something to do for the "cause" and they paid attention to everything going on so far away from here.

With Korean and Vietnam, things were a lot different. Few paid the price along side of the men and women sent aside from their own families.

The Gulf War was over so fast no one was really asked to do much other than stick up a yellow ribbon sign on their business window. With Afghanistan, it was another attack on this country that started it but while it seemed everyone was flying their flags on their homes, sticking magnets on their cars and singing about being proud to be an American, they lost interest.

FDR said December 7, 1941 was a day that would live in infamy. I doubt he knew how right he actually was. We have learned so much those days but most of it was forgotten.
The Presidential Address to Congress on December 8, 1941. Known as the Infamy Speech, it was delivered at 12:30 p.m. that day to a Joint Session of Congress by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, one day after the Empire of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hawaii. Roosevelt famously describes the previous day as "a date which will live in infamy." Within an hour of the speech, Congress passed a formal declaration of war against Japan and officially brought the U.S. into World War II. The address is regarded as one of the most famous American political speeches of the 20th century.
We can defeat PTSD but only if we are committed to doing it. If not, then more generations will pay the price for what we refuse to do now.

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