Pearl Harbor Day of Remembrance

by Katye Riselli

The flag flies at half-mast today. The simple shift calls us to remember and honor those lost on Pearl Harbor 77 years ago.

An unprovoked attack shattered the peace on a quiet Sunday morning. More than 2,400 Americans were killed and nearly 1,200 more injured as our nation’s enemies brought death and destruction to our shores. As we mark the anniversary of the day that lives in infamy, there is much to remember that we cannot afford to forget.

We remember how these heroes lived.

Those who serve do so freely. Freely they have received, so freely they give, surrendering their lives to serve their nation and its people.

Those who serve do so by faith. By faith they go, living as strangers in new lands. By faith they look expectantly, full of hope for the dawn they may not see.

We remember how they died.

Those who serve do so compelled by love. They know the fullness of freedom and love and therefore commit their lives to serve others, so that all may know the benefits of liberty and peace.

Those who serve also sacrifice. By looking to the needs of others before their own, they sacrificed their own lives for those whom they love. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down ones life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

Decades before most of us were born, thousands of Americans gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense and protection of the nation in which we now live. Remembering their faithfulness in how they lived fuels my faith to live similarly today.

We honor their memory.

Whenever the flag flies at half-mast, I lower my head, humbled by the sacrifice it represents. The lives we remember served freely, full of faith, and compelled by love.

In their life and in their death they blessed the next generation and so became a blessing to my generation as well. I enjoy the liberty and peace they guarded with their lives. My daughters know the fruits of freedom because of the faith and service of their great-grandfathers. The world my grandchildren experience will be the legacy left by those who serve today.

As we remember and honor those lost on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, may their lives of service inspire us to live freely, may their sacrifice remind us to give generously, and may we honor their memory by stewarding all they have entrusted to us.