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Associated Press
Smoke pours from the USS Arizona, one of four U.S. battleships sunk at Pearl Harbor 71 years ago today.


Pearl Harbor words endure

The number of Americans who remember the events of 71 years ago today continues to dwindle, but many more will never forget the immortal words from President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a speech to Congress the next day, recorded and re-played an infinite number of times:

“Yesterday, December 7, 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. …

“It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace. …

“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.”

Another quote related to the attack has been repeated and remembered. “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve” has been attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto – but the only credible source of the quote is in a movie script for 1970’s “Tora! Tora! Tora!,” repeated in 2001’s “Pearl Harbor.”

Whether or not Yamamoto said it, though, those words aptly describe how the U.S. reacted to Pearl Harbor.