Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

PEARL HARBOR

Dec 07 2011

Washington, Dec. 7 -

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Mr. Speaker, the sun was lazily rising on horizon. It was around breakfast time on a stunning Sunday morning. It was quiet, peaceful, calm.  People felt secure.  There was a small tropical breeze as the American flag was being raised on a nearby flagpole.

It was this day that Luke Trahin, a 22-year-old sailor from Beaumont, in southeast Texas, noticed large formations of aircraft darkening the glistening sky. He kept watching in awe until suddenly the aircraft broke formation, dove from the sky and unleashed a fury of deadly, devastating bombs and torpedoes on a place called Pearl Harbor in the Pacific. It was this day, 70 years ago this morning, when Luke and his fellow sailors, soldiers, and marines saw war unleashed upon America. It was December 7, 1941

The Japanese had caught America by surprise and took advantage of an unprepared nation. And after the smoke cleared on that morning of madness, 98 Navy

planes and 64 Army aircrafts were destroyed. LukeĆ­s unit, Patrol Wing One, lost all but three of its 36 aircraft. 2,471 Americans, servicemen and civilians were

killed by this unwarranted invasion of terror from the skies.

The pride of the United States Navy, the battleships -- West Virginia, California, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Maryland, Nevada and Arizona -- were trapped in the harbor. They made easy targets for the Japanese pilots. The sailors onboard these battle wagons fought with the courage of entire legions of warriors when they were attacked by a skillful, fanatical, and tyrannical enemy. All of these fierce U.S. Navy battleships were sunk or damaged.  Their guns, Mr. Speaker, are now silent.

The hull of the USS Arizona became the sacred graveyard in the peaceful Pacific for more than 1,177 American sailors and marines. I have seen, Mr. Speaker, the oil that still seeps to the surface from the hull of the battleship Arizona.

Luke Trahan and his Navy buddies in Patrol Wing One quickly got organized, prepared, and waited for two days for the expected land invasion of the Japanese.  It never came. But America was at war.  It was World War II, and the war was long.  It spread from the Pacific to Europe to Africa to the Middle East to Asia. The Japanese, then the Nazis, seemed undefeatable.  But even the Japanese were concerned about the spirit of America. The Japanese commander of the Pearl Harbor invasion remarked that what Japan had done was wake a sleeping giant.