On this day, we remember Pearl Harbor and those killed and wounded in the surprise attack that occurred on Dec. 7, 1941.

In the early hours of that calm Sunday morning, the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor and nearby airfields were struck from the air by the Empire of Japan. The unprovoked assault, utilizing over 350 enemy aircraft for just under two hours, incurred devastating losses in human life and military assets.

We grieve for the families who lost loved ones during the attack, and we salute all veterans who served so bravely that day. Their sacrifice and service add to a legacy of military valor that reaches from the opening volley of the American Revolution to the protections we enjoy this very moment.

In addition to serving our country with honor, the heroes of Pearl Harbor are rightly regarded as having participated in an American moment that has few parallels in history — the event that drew our country World War II.

Indeed, on the following day, appearing before a joint session of Congress, President Roosevelt requested a formal declaration of war against Japan, which was swiftly granted. Three days later, Dec. 11, Adolf Hitler declared war on the United States, and in turn, we declared war on Germany later that day.

When Americans went to bed on Dec. 6, 1941, they retired as a divided nation on the troubling topic of war. Japan had emerged as a disturbing threat in Asia in the wake of its regional aggression and its displeasure with our mounting objections. And, the German war machine had conquered much of Europe and was in the midst of a furious bombing campaign against Britain.

Still, many Americans objected to becoming ensnared in the affairs of distant nations.

However, the dire state of global affairs called for an infusion of leadership and military might that only America could provide. With much-needed unity, we could furnish both.

Pearl Harbor ignited that unity — and a resolve we would carry while leading our allies to victory in World War II.

To all who fought and died at Pearl Harbor, we are in your debt.

Happy birthday Thursday to Jack Carter of Denison; Jean Miller, Irene Owens, Morris Wood, Wilola Walker, Larry Cecil Williams, and Brenda Winter, all of Sherman; Meredith Baur of Arlington; and Al Stresing of Spartanburg, South Carolina.