WASHINGTON — Seventy-five years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Obama praised the Greatest Generation for forging “an enduring international order.”
Obama did not travel to Hawaii today for remembrance events. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has been in Japan for ministerial meetings on the U.S.-Japan alliance.
In a statement, Obama said the sacrifice of those lost in the Pearl Harbor attack “galvanized millions of GIs and Rosie the Riveters who answered the call to defend liberty at its moment of maximum peril.”
“In the hours after the attack, President Roosevelt promised that ‘the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.’ Thanks to the heroism of a generation, we did,” he said. “…We give thanks to the veterans and survivors of Pearl Harbor who faced down fear itself, met infamy with intrepidity, freed captive peoples from fascism and whose example inspires us still.”
“For out of the horrors of war, this Greatest Generation forged an enduring international order, became the backbone of the middle class and powered America’s prosperity. Their courage and resolve remind us of that fundamental American truth—that out of many we are one; and that when we stand together, no undertaking is too great.”
Obama added that the day is a reminder to “embrace our commitment to care for and support veterans of America’s wars from every generation.”
The president noted that he’ll be visiting the USS Arizona Memorial later this month along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will be the first Japanese leader to visit Pearl Harbor.
“This historic visit will stand as a tribute to the power of reconciliation and to the truth that the United States and Japan—bound by an alliance unimaginable 75 years ago—will continue to work hand-in-hand for a more peaceful and secure world,” Obama added.
Abe said Tuesday that during his visit he intends to “pray for the souls of the war vets.”
“And on that occasion, I would like to demonstrate my determination for the future that we must never again repeat the devastation of war,” the prime minister added.
In Japan, Carter visited with Japanese sailors Tuesday as “a strong sign of our strong alliance which has never been stronger.”