Dec. 7, 1941, is a date of historical significance that will be ingrained in the minds of Americans forever. The attack on Pearl Harbor, while it occurred more than 75 years ago, was a time that brought all Americans together for a common goal — the defense of our nation against a threat to our way of life.
Today, our foe may have changed, be it al-Qaida, the Taliban or North Korea, but behind it all, regardless of your political persuasion is a group that have stood up and taken the call, wherever and whenever they were needed to go in our world — our military veterans. Last month, we celebrated Veterans Day and we typically remember those who have lost their lives in defense of our country. However, on the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, we want to set aside some time to thank and honor living veterans who served honorably in the military — during war and peace.
Today, there are 21.8 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces. Over 500,000 of them — airmen, soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — live in Arizona. Since 1925, Tucson has been privileged and honored to have hosted Davis-Monthan Air Force Base; and since 1969, the 162nd Wing, (Arizona Air National Guard) at Tucson International Airport; the Arizona Army National Guard and others. We take great pride in our active duty, National Guard, reservists, their families, and all our veterans who work responsible jobs, live in our neighborhoods, attend and teach at our schools, pray at our churches, coach our sports teams and volunteer wherever needed to make a difference.
Tucson, being an Air Force city, supports the airmen of Davis-Monthan AFB and the 162nd Air National Guard Wing in their mission areas including air, space and now the cyber domains. Our airmen participated in the unconditional victory of WWII, the Berlin airlift, the Cold War, the skies over the jungles of Southeast Asia, the air war over Bosnia and air combat in the deserts of the Middle East. Thanks to our airmen and all of our veterans, the terrorism threat has not gone unanswered.
We have the highest respect for our Arizona National Guardsmen who serve the state and our nation in a variety of ways. They have been activated and deployed in support of our nation’s ongoing military commitments. During state of Arizona crises, they have provided critical security and humanitarian assistance.
Superior high-tech weapons and aerospace vehicles are important, but it has been the quality of our veterans, their courage, capability and commitment that makes us the most powerful nation in the world. If you love your freedom, go out of your way and thank a U.S. veteran this day.
They pledged an oath to give their lives to defend yours! That is special commitment and deserves our heartfelt thanks from every American. None of us want to ever experience another Pearl Harbor in our lifetimes.