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Remembering Pearl Harbor

While the world marks the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, we reflect on our strength as a nation, and the emergence of our greatest generation. Rather than breaking the back of the American spirit, the sneak attack on our naval forces at Pearl Harbor ushered in a nation so powerful and so generous, that nearly every country on earth looks to the United States for our leadership, for our vision, and for our altruistic pursuit of liberty and freedom for all.  This is a summons to greatness from which we must never retreat.

The American preeminence that followed the end of WWII does not offer us the choice of playing second fiddle in world affairs, or to sit back on matters of national security, as we largely did before that fateful Sunday in December 1941.  Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto wisely acknowledged, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant.”  Such prophetic words are rarely etched into the immutable pages of our history. 

Since Pearl Harbor, our way of life and the values of freedom and democracy have been under constant threat.  We have responded in force.  Greeting those who dare cross our threshold stand our brave American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines.  Today, more than 345,000 uniformed military personnel are stationed or deployed overseas preserving peace, deterring aggression, and destroying the enemies of freedom.

Yet a quick glance at US national security budgets confirms that freedom isn’t free.  To ensure that those we lost 75 years ago did not perish in vain, the US must always remain one step ahead of our competitors and many steps ahead of our enemies.  That becomes more challenging when leap-ahead technological advancements are occurring on a daily basis, and we must always be prepared for that great unknown.

Knowing that the fight for freedom can never rest, forward-thinking statesmen like Ronald Reagan understood this and invested massive resources into our military infrastructure.  Sadly, recent presidents have failed to grasp the importance of peace through strength.  As a result, our military has had to make do with budgets far below what they need and what our nation deserves. 

I stand ready to work with future presidents to provide our warriors the resources they need to preserve the legacy of Pearl Harbor.  As long as I have been in Congress, I have always, and will always advocate for higher spending for our broad national security apparatus – to care and provide for our service members who keep our nation and the world free and prosperous.  That is my promise to those we lost at Pearl Harbor.  That is my promise to those today who have answered the call of our nation.

History rarely gives us turning points as stark as the early morning of December 7, 1941.  Yet the day that will live in infamy marks the day the U.S. stepped upon the world stage as a force for good.  Those of the greatest generation we lost that day laid the foundation for lasting peace among the world’s most powerful nations.  The giant was awakened; let us never fall to the temptation to slumber.

Rep. Carter represents Texas District 31, which includes Fort Hood, the largest active duty armored military installation in the free world. He serves as Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations, co-chairman of the House Army Caucus, is on the Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice and Science and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.


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