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The Attack on Pearl Harbor

Today in Masonic History we commemorate the Attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

The Attack on Pearl Harbor, also known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor, the Hawaii Operation or Operation AI by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and Operation Z during planning was a surprise military strike against American military forces in Hawaii.

The Attack on Pearl Harbor is often called the entry point of the United States into World War II, it was not the first action taken by American involving the war. A variety of events occurred prior to the Attack on Pearl Harbor including a deal referred to as "Bases for Destroyers." The deal was struck by President and brother mason, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) who was attempting to avoid Congress in making a deal to aide the British in their fight against Nazi Germany.

Prior to the Attack on Pearl Harbor there was a strong sentiment of isolationism in the United States. The event of World War I some twenty years before had left much of the country unwilling to engage in the war in Europe. Many had family members and friends who had died or were injured during World War I. Many felt that Europe should fend for itself and did not believe that entering another battle in Europe was worth the expense of money, resources and human life. FDR was not one of those people and believed that America should join the fighting.

The mood of the country changed on December 7th, 1941 with the Attack on Pearl Harbor. There are many reasons that are given, some logical some conspiratorial, as to why no one in the United States Military saw the attack coming. Regardless of what was missed and what changes some might have made before the attack, it led to the entry of the United States in World War II. Fighting a war on two fronts, one in the Pacific against Japanese forces and one in Europe against Nazi Germany and Axis forces.

During the war many military and civilian leaders who masons were already on the scene prior to the war or emerged during the war. Some of these famous masons included FDR, Winston Churchill Prime Minister of Britain and General Douglas MacArthur. It also includes many brothers who played a significant role during the war as well as those within the masonic fraternity and beyond who paid the price for the freedoms that many of us continue to enjoy.

There is probably no real way to know the number of masons who were killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor or how many, mason or otherwise, acted with true heroism during the attack. What is for certain is the 2,403 people lost their lives that day and until the events of September 11th were so many lost from an attack on American soil.

To all who served on December 7th, 1941 and who lost loved ones on that day, we thank you for your service and sacrifice.