On this day in 1941, at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a swarm of over 360 Japanese warplanes unleash a devastating surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor.
This war crime pulled our country in to World War II.
Mercifully, it was Sunday morning, so many personnel had passes to attend church off base.
Still, over 2,400 Americans were killed and nearly 1,200 were wounded. Most of the Pacific fleet was damaged or destroyed.
So Help us God
The next day, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed the nation about the attack at Pearl Harbor.
Of course, most of us are familiar with his opening statement:
“Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
He went on:
“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.
With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us God.”
‘Laus Deo’, we did.
Finally, some may take issue with this phrase as sworn in Our public oaths, despite the greater degree of intent and obligation it imparts, especially in contrast to a personal affirmation.
After all, let us echo the sentiment of George Washington from his farewell address:
Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths…? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.”