“December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously proclaimed.
Today marks the 76th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. On that fateful day in 1941, hundreds of Japanese planes ambushed Pearl Harbor Naval base in a surprise attack, damaging 20 American naval vessels, 8 battleships, 300 aircrafts and killing more than 2,400 Americans. Today, we reflect on our history and focus on a two heroes that looked evil in the face – and said, “Fuck you”.
Samuel Fuqua, who was aboard the USS Arizona when the first wave of attacks hit, was a 42-year-old lieutenant commander enjoying his breakfast when the first sirens went off. He immediately sprung into action rushing the main deck, only to be greeted by a fucking bomb that fell right next to him, knocking him unconscious. After regaining consciousness moments later, he became the Arizona’s senior surviving officer after another bomb was dropped on the ships ammunition magazine – killing over 1,000 men aboard. As heavily wounded sailors were brought up on the main deck, Sam led an effort to evacuate the sinking ship, all while bullets were flying past him – immune to the fear. “I can still see him standing there,” Arizona crewman Edward Wentzlaff stated years later in an interview, “ankle deep in water, stub of a cigar in his mouth, cool and efficient, oblivious to the danger about him.” WHAT. A. FUCKING. BOSS. This is what leadership looks like. Cigar and all. Samuel didn’t give a shit about the firefight taking place mere inches from his head. He was only worried about getting his crew to safety. These actions led to being a Medal of Honor recipient. Thank you, Samuel Faqua.
Doris Miller, who was a cook and laundry attendant on the USS West Virginia, first heard the explosions down in the kitchen area. Yet, Miller sprang into action and manned the closest battle-station and started fucking blasting away at the Japanese fighter jets circling above. “It wasn’t hard,” he later remembered. “I just pulled the trigger and she worked fine…” That, my friends, is called being quick on your feet and learning on the fly. His bravery during Pearl Harbor earned him the Navy Cross – the first ever given to an African American. Thank you, Doris Miller.
These men, along with countless other men and women, rose above and beyond the line of duty, to protect their fellow Man and Country. On this day, 76 years since the vicious attack on Pearl Harbor, we take pause to remember all those who stood tall and fought for America. Even in the darkest of times, with so much death and destruction, there are Heroes among us, who turn on the light.
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