Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today released the following statement on the 78th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor tomorrow.
“Seventy-eight years later, America still remembers the ‘date which will live in infamy.’ It was the first phrase pronounced to the world by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the wake of one of America’s greatest tragedies, which has since engraved itself in history forever. December 7, 1941 will always mark the date that 2,403 American lives were lost when Japan led a surprise attack on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. It is a day that evoked fear and uncertainty across our nation and catapulted the United States into a Second World War.
On that fateful December morning, there was no greater symbolism of American resilience than U.S.S. West Virginia, one of the four battleships that sunk in Pearl Harbor. The U.S.S. West Virginia took seven torpedoes hits and was targeted by Japanese planes more than any other ship. By the time enemy fire ceased, the ship had sunk into the harbor.
But in fact, after being refloated and undergoing repairs, the West Virginia would later be involved in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and ultimately reached Tokyo Bay just days before Japan’s formal surrender.
This great ship that proudly represents the Mountain State is a symbol of the American people. The ship’s story reveals that even in those moments when we are shaken to the core, we should never lose hope. Like the American people, the U.S.S. West Virginia signifies that while we may face difficult times, they also become the moments we remember the most, defining who we are and what we are made of.
Today, we pay homage to the brave Americans who sacrificed their lives on that infamous December morning. We will never forget their service and sacrifice, always remembering those lost not only in our hearts, but also in the way we live our lives. Let us never forget those who came before us, and lived and died for this nation. And let us always mark dates like December 7, 1941 as the times we remember who we are as a nation and the strength of American resilience.”