The USS Arizona sinks after it's bombed during the Pearl Harbor attacks in 1941.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

 

       

For Americans today, the account of Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War II is nothing more than a subject of academic study. But there are still a handful of veterans alive today who were actually part of that epic event. In yesterday’s program on WallBuilders Live, Chief Petty Officer (Ret.) James Womack recounted his remarkable experiences aboard the U.S.S. St.Louis on that fateful day as they battled the Japanese in that devastating American defeat. It is inspiring to hear about the bravery and courage of those who stood in harm’s way on that fateful morning. (If you missed this, or any program on the more than 180 stations across the nation that air WallBuilders Live, you can hear those previous programs on our Archives page.)

As we commemorate this famous “date which will live in infamy,” an excellent prayer to offer on this day is an official Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Prayer:

Dear Father, on this annual recollection of the Pearl Harbor tragedy, we pray for thy benign blessings and guidance. Enable us to reflect clearly and conscientiously upon our priceless heritage. Let us be determined to guard and preserve it through all trials and difficulties. Help us to be worthy of the lofty ideals for which so many courageous men and women sacrificed so much. Grant us steadfast spirits always to defend our great inheritance for the countless generations yet unborn. Cast thy countenance upon our beloved country, the United States of America. Shelter the inhabitants of our land from all anguish, peril, and gloom. May this blessed haven ever be the citadel of justice, freedom, and brotherhood. May the time not be distant O God, when mankind will live in security and confidence as it is written in the book of thy Prophet Isaiah: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” Then the glory of God shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. Amen

And during this season of giving, some simple ways you can give back to the veterans who have sacrificed so much on behalf of us all include:

 

American troops land at Omaha Beach during the D-Day landings of 1944.

This Day in History: D-Day

In 1941, America, although striving to be uninvolved, was pulled into another world war.  Still recovering from the previous one, the attacks at Pearl Harbor on December 7th ensured America’s involvement in one of the bloodiest wars in history. 1

In response to the Pearl Harbor attacks, America declared war on Japan, Germany, and Italy. 2   In order to help fund the war effort, the government issued war bonds, and then printed posters to help encourage Americans to purchase the bonds. Interestingly, many posters were overtly Christian in their content (such as the one pictured on the left).
June 6th is a great time to pause and remember those brave men who so valiantly fought for freedom. It was on this date, 69 years ago, that the Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy  3 in an effort to turn the tide of the war. 4  This strategic landing enabled the Allies to push back the German troops. 5  As the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, Dwight D. Eisenhower told the troops:

The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.

The prayers of America for her troops were also evident in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer that he prayed in a national radio address given to the American people as the D-Day invasion was underway. 6  As we remember those brave men who sacrificed so much in World War II, let us also be grateful for the men and women who continue to preserve the freedoms that America holds dear today.

Be sure to tune check out WallBuilders Show radio program to hear several stories of WWII Veterans. To see what the Bible – and the Founders- said about war (Psalm 144 and Romans 13) and numerous other topics, be sure to check out The Founders’ Bible.


Endnotes

1 “World War II” Encyclopedia Britannica (accessed June5, 2013).  See also,  Wayne M. Dzwonchyk and John Ray Skates, “A Brief History of the U.S. Army in WWII,” U.S. Army Center of Military History (accessed June5, 2013).
2 “Declarations of a State of War with Japan, Germany, and Italy: Proceedings in the Senate, Monday, December 8, 1941,” Avalon Project (accessed June 5, 2013). See also, “Declarations of a State of War with Japan, Germany, and Italy: Proceedings in the House of Representatives, Monday, December 8, 1941,” Avalon Project (accessed June 5, 2013).
3 “D-Day: June 6, 1944,” U.S. Army (accessed June 5, 2013).
4 “D-Day, the Normandy Invasion, 6 – 25 June 1944,” Naval History and Heritage Command (accessed June 5, 2013). See also, William M. Hammond, “Normandy,” U.S. Army Center of Military History, October 3, 2003.
5 “Outline of Operation Overlord,” U.S. Army Center of Military History, February 4, 2012. See also, “D-Day, the Normandy Invasion, 6 – 25 June 1944,” Naval History and Heritage Command (accessed June 5, 2013). William M. Hammond, “Normandy,” U.S. Army Center of Military History, October 3, 2003.
6 “D-Day,” Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum (accessed June 5, 2013).

A Soldier and a President

November 11th, Veteran’s Day, is the day America has set aside to remember and honor those who have been part of our Armed Forces. One of the WallBuilders Show program’s focuses on the remarkable story of a WWII Veteran who was in the 70th Tank Battalion that landed on Utah Beach during the D-Day invasion of France.

As the Supreme Commander of the Allied troops in Europe, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s bold leadership on the beaches of Normandy gained the admiration of the nation. This popularity would later contribute to the slogan “I like Ike” and he was eventually elected and inaugurated as America’s 34th President.

While many Americans today are familiar with General Eisenhower, few know much about his strong faith. For example, the day before his presidential inauguration in 1953, he wrote his own inaugural prayer, which he personally delivered the next day, dedicating himself before God to the service of the people.

During his presidency, he signed into law the bill that added the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance, established the National Prayer Breakfast, made “In God We Trust” the national motto, placed “In God We Trust” on paper currency and not just coinage, and a Congressional Prayer Room was added to the U. S. Capitol.

An inspirational account of God’s providential intervention in the life of a young Dwight Eisenhower was published and distributed nationally during his presidency, and was even circulated during his presidential campaign.

General Eisenhower is one of America’s better known veterans, but the others are no less important. So please take the time to find veterans around you and thank them for their service, and their willingness to sacrifice so much to preserve liberty for all of us.

The Four Chaplains

What these four have in common is that they were all chaplains; all four loved and served God; and all four voluntarily sacrificed their own lives to help soldiers survive the sinking of the U.S.A.T (United States Army Transport) Dorchester.

In the midst of World War II, the Dorchester, moving troops from America to Europe, was approaching Greenland when it was torpedoed by a German submarine just after midnight on February 3, 1943. Within twenty minutes of being struck, it plunged beneath the black and icy waters of the North Atlantic. 1

In those twenty minutes, with the pitch dark, the cries of the wounded coming from every direction, and the severe lurching of the ship as it filled with water, chaos and pandemonium reigned. But four chaplains (Lt. Alexander Goode, a Jewish Rabbi; Lt. Clark Poling, Dutch Reform; Lt. George Fox, Methodist; and Lt. John Washington, a Catholic priest) took charge and quickly brought a sense of calm and assurance to the soldiers aboard the sinking ship.

   
   (Goode)                 (Poling)                (Fox)                (Washington)

The chaplains moved among the soldiers, “calming the frightened, tending the wounded and guiding the disoriented toward safety.” 2 One survivor testified, “I could hear men crying, pleading, praying. I could also hear the chaplains preaching courage. Their voices were the only thing that kept me going.” 3 They helped the men get into life jackets and off the boat. And when the life jackets finally ran out, these four Army chaplains took off their own vests and gave them to other soldiers to make sure they would be safe 4 (only 230 of the 902 on board survived).

As the Dorchester finally slipped beneath the frigid Arctic waters, survivors in the lifeboats testified that the last thing they saw was the four chaplains standing together on the submerging deck – a Jew, a Methodist, a Catholic, and a Dutch Reformed – their arms locked together and their voices raised in prayer and song as the ship forever slipped beneath the freezing waters. 5

In 1948, President Harry Truman arranged for a special postage stamp to memorialize the four, 6 and three years later in 1951, he spoke at the dedication of the Chapel of the Four Chaplains in Philadelphia, 7 telling the nation:

This chapel commemorates something more than an act of bravery or courage. It commemorates a great act of faith in God. The four chaplains whose memory this shrine was built to commemorate were not required to give their lives as they did. They gave their lives without being asked. When their ship was sinking, they handed out all the life preservers that were available and then took off their own and gave them away in order that four other men might be saved. Those four chaplains actually carried out the moral code which we are all supposed to live by. They obeyed the Divine commandment that men should love one another. They really lived up to the moral standard that declares: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” [John 15:13]. They were not afraid of death because they knew that the Word of God is stronger than death. Their belief, their faith, in His word enabled them to conquer death. 8

WallBuilders’ Collection includes an original card signed by President Harry S. Truman with his declaration that the sacrifice of the four chaplains was “an heroic event without parallel.”

President Truman, throughout his administration, was outspoken about the importance of Biblical faith. A confirmation of this is evident in another of his documents that we own — his proclamation for a day of prayer and thanksgiving at the surrender of the German Army on V-E Day (May 8, 1945).

As part of that call to prayer, President Truman urged Americans:

I also call upon my countrymen to dedicate this day of prayer to the memory of those who have given their lives to make possible our victory. 9

We, too, should be grateful for the sacrifice of the valiant men and women from throughout our nation’s history who have been willing to lay down their lives to protect our nation and the God-given freedoms we enjoy.


Endnotes

1 John Brinsfield, “Chaplaincy History: The four chaplains,” U.S. Army, January 28, 2014. See also, “The Saga of the Four Chaplains,” The Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation, 2008.
2 John Brinsfield, “Chaplaincy History: The four chaplains,” U.S. Army January 28, 2014. See also, The Story of the Four Immortal Chaplains,” United States Army War College Memorial Chapel (accessed on: February 7, 2014).
3 “The Saga of the Four Chaplains,” The Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation, 2008. See also, WWII Informational Fact Sheets (Department of Defense: 1995), p. 14, “Fact Sheet: Four Chaplains.”
4 “The Saga of the Four Chaplains,” The Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation, 2008. See also, Stanley Brewer, “S.S. Dorchester,” Great Ships (accessed on: February 7, 2014).
5 John Brinsfield, “Chaplaincy History: The four chaplains,” U.S. Army January 28, 2014. See also, Congressional Record (Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C., 1988), V. 144, Pt. 1, p. 72, January 27, 1988.
6 Harry S. Truman, “Informal Remarks in San Francisco,” The American Presidency Project, June 13, 1948.
7 Harry S. Truman, “Address in Philadelphia at the Dedication of the Chapel of the Four Chaplains,” The American Presidency Project, February 3, 1951. See also, Carol Devlin Gadsby, “My Memories of the Chapel of the Four Chaplains,” Grace Baptist Church of Blue Bell, March 2, 2008; James W. Hilty, Temple University: 125 Years of Service to Philadelphia, the Nation, and the World  (Temple University Press: Philadelphia, PA, 2010), p. 15.
8 Harry S. Truman, “Address in Philadelphia at the Dedication of the Chapel of the Four Chaplains,” The American Presidency Project, February 3, 1951.
9 Harry S, Truman, Proclamation of the President: Victory in Europe; Day of Prayer, WallBuilders, May 9, 1945.

Dwight D. Eisenhower – A Presidential Profile

Many of our nation’s Presidents have had remarkable but untold stories. The following story about President Eisenhower, published over a generation ago, was so inspiring that we wanted to share it with you.

A Question of Courage by Grace Perkins Oursler

(Reprinted from a 1959 Readers Digest School Reader, condensed and adapted from a Guideposts article.)

The boy had fallen, running home after school, and skinned his left knee. It was no more than a scratch. His trousers were not even torn, but by night the knee had begun to ache. Nothing much, he thought, being 13 and the sturdy son of a frontiersman. Ignoring the pain, he knelt and said his prayers. Then he climbed into bed in the room where he and his five brothers slept.

His leg was painful the next morning, but he still did not tell anyone. Life on the farm kept everyone busy. He always had to be up at six to do his chores before school. He had to do them well or he would be sent back to do them over again, no matter what else he had to miss, including meals. In his home, discipline was fair but stern.

Two mornings later the leg ached too badly for him to drag himself to the barn. It was Sunday and he could stay home while the rest of the family drove to town. He sat in the parlor and dozed until his brothers returned from Sunday school.

Mom and Dad did not come home with them because Sunday was parents’ day off. The boys did the housework and cooked the big meal of the week, while mother and father stayed on to attend church.

The Fight Begins

But by the time dinner was ready, the boy had climbed into bed. The shoe had to be cut off his swollen and discolored leg.

“Why on earth didn’t you tell somebody?” asked his mother. “Go quick,” she called to his father, “and fetch the doctor.”

She bathed the knee, foot and thigh, and wiped the boy’s sweating forehead with a moist, cool cloth. Even as she watched the angry infection grow worse, she remained calm. Mom had nursed her boys through accidents and ailments from toothaches to scarlet fever. One son she had lost, but that only made her calmer and more determined to fight for the others.

Old Dr. Conklin examined the leg and shook his head. “It’s not likely we can save it!”

The invalid sat up stiffly.

“What’s that mean?” he asked huskily.

“It means,” explained the doctor gently, “if things get worse we’ll have to cut off your leg.”

“Not me!” stormed the boy. “I won’t have it! I’d rather die!” “The longer we wait, the more we will have to take off,” urged the doctor.

“You won’t take any off!” The boy’s voice broke with a youthful crack, as his mother turned away, shaken. But there was the look of a man in the boy’s eyes.

A Promise to be Kept

Dr. Conklin stalked out, nodding to the mother to follow him. As he stood in the hallway explaining to the parents what probably would happen, they could hear the sick boy calling for his brother: “Ed! Ed! Come up here, will you?”

The brother stamped in. Then they heard the sick lad’s voice, high pitched with pain: “If I go out of my head, Ed, don’t let them cut off my leg. Promise me, Ed – promise!”

In a moment Ed came out and ran to the kitchen. When he returned his mother said, “Ed, what’s your brother asking for?”

“Fork. To bite on; to keep from screaming.”

Then Ed stood outside the bedroom door, his arms folded. Quite clearly he was standing guard.

Ed looked straight at Dr. Conklin. “Nobody’s going to saw off that leg!” he announced.

“But, Ed – you’ll be sorry,” gasped the doctor.

“Maybe so, Doc. But I gave him my word.”

And nothing changed that. If Ed had not stood his ground, father and mother might have yielded. They were not yet sure that amputation was necessary. The stubborn attitude first of the sick boy and then of his brother was unbelievable, for defiance of authority was unknown in that home. Yet there was Ed, standing before the sickroom door.

“Guess we’ll wait and see how he looks by tonight, eh, Doc?” said the father.

The Crisis

For two days and nights Ed stood guard, sleeping at the threshold, not leaving even to eat. The fever mounted and the suffering boy became delirious, babbling with pain. The older brother did not weaken, even though the discoloration of the swollen leg was creeping toward the hip. Ed remained firm because he had given his promise. Also he shared the frontiersman’s dread of being less than physically perfect. A man needed his arms and legs to do the hard work on a farm.

The parents knew that their son would never forgive an amputation, and Ed stood firm whenever the doctor returned. Once, in helpless rage, Dr. Conklin shouted, “It’s murder! Nothing but a miracle can save the boy now.” He left, slamming the front door.

Mother, father and watchful Ed shared the same thought as their anxious eyes turned from the doorway. Had they forgotten their faith because of their fears? Why, this sick boy’s grandfather, that vigorous and inspiring old farmer-minister, had always believed in healings through faith. Now, in this desperate hour, the three went to their knees at the bedside.

They prayed, taking turns in leading one another. Father, mother – and at last Edgar – each would rise in turn, go about the farm work and rejoin the continual prayer. During the second night the other four brothers joined in the prayers.

The next morning, when the faithful old doctor stopped by again, his experienced eye saw a sign. The swelling was going down!

Dr. Conklin closed his eyes and made a rusty prayer of his own – a prayer of thanksgiving. Even after the sick boy dropped into a normal sleep, one member of the family after another kept the prayer vigil all through the night.

It was nightfall again and the lamps were lighted when the boy opened his eyes. The swelling was away down now. The discoloration had almost faded. In three weeks – pale and weak, but with eyes clear and voice strong – the boy could once again stand up.

And Ike Eisenhower was ready to face life.”

(End of reprinted article)

This early Divine intervention by God in the life of a young Dwight Eisenhower produced a later blessing to America and the world.

The Story of a Leader

Eisenhower was born in 1890 in Texas and raised as a Presbyterian in Kansas. His mother had been a Mennonite and was a strong pacifist who morally opposed war, but the young Eisenhower believed that the best way to ensure peace was through a strong military. He therefore applied and was accepted at West Point Military Academy, where he graduated as a commissioned army officer in 1915.

Prior to World War II, Eisenhower served as a young officer under General Douglas McArthur in the Philippines. When the War broke out, Eisenhower was assigned to command a military training base in Louisiana with almost half-a-million soldiers. General George Marshall was so impressed with Eisenhower’s abilities that he made him the liaison between American and British strategists in London; and Prime Minister Winston Churchill was so taken with Eisenhower’s skills that he had him appointed as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe. As a result of Eisenhower’s leadership – particularly through bold measures such as the D-Day invasion – the Nazis and their allies were crushed and a wave of freedom swept across Europe and the world.

Following his service in World War II, Eisenhower became the very first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the military, served a brief stint as president of Columbia University, was named the Supreme Commander of NATO, and was elected US President in 1952.

Throughout Ike’s life, his early religious training – more apparent at some times than at others – never fully departed him. For example, at his first Presidential Inauguration in 1953, Ike took his oath of office upon two Bibles – the one used by George Washington in his 1789 inauguration, and the one given to Ike by his mother upon his graduation from West Point. After being sworn in, Ike personally offered the inaugural prayer rather than having a minister do so:

My friends, before I begin the expression of those thoughts that I deem appropriate to this moment, would you permit me the privilege of uttering a little private prayer of my own. And I ask that you bow your heads:

“Almighty God, as we stand here at this moment, my future associates in the executive branch of government join me in beseeching that Thou will make full and complete our dedication to the service of the people in this throng, and their fellow citizens everywhere. Give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly
right from wrong, and allow all our words and actions to be governed thereby, and by the laws of this land. Especially we pray that our concern shall be for all the people regardless of station, race, or calling. May cooperation be permitted and be the mutual aim of those who, under the concepts of our Constitution, hold to differing political faiths; so that all may work for the good of our beloved country and Thy glory. Amen.”

During his first term, Eisenhower signed the federal law inserting the phrase “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance. Why? According to Eisenhower:

In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.

For his second inauguration, Eisenhower was actually sworn in twice. Because the legally designated inaugural day fell on a Sunday, Ike refused to have a public ceremony; the official oath was administered to him on the Sabbath in private. The following day, however, he had a public ceremony and was sworn in (again) before large crowds at the Capitol, taking his oath on his West Point Bible as he had at his first inauguration.

Eisenhower literally was used of God to bless Europe, America, and the entire world, none of whom would have experienced that blessing had not God sovereignly intervened in Ike’s life during his youth.

 

 

American troops land at Omaha Beach during the D-Day landings of 1944.

The Heart Shield Bibles of World War II

A Shield of Righteousness

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth,
having put on the breastplate of righteousness.
(Ephesians 6:14)

September marks the anniversary of the official beginning of WWII. On September 3, 1939, President Roosevelt addressed the nation with one of his famous “Fireside Chats” stating his resolve to remain a neutral nation in the war,1 which culminated in an American Proclamation of Neutrality declared on September 5th.2

the-heart-shield-bibles-of-world-war-ii-2 However, all of that changed with the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. In his famous “date which will live in infamy” message to Congress requesting that the United States officially declare war on Japan, President Roosevelt stated, “With confidence in our armed forces — with the unbounding determination of our people — we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us God.”3

the-heart-shield-bibles-of-world-war-ii-3This confidence in God and our military (along with his concern for individual American soldiers) was later evident in what is now known as The Heart-Shield Bible. These Bibles (used during World War II) were designed to fit securely into the chest pocket of a soldier’s uniform. The metal plates were securely attached to the front cover of the Bible to stop a bullet from reaching the soldier’s heart (which they did on several occasions). In our library at WallBuilders we have several of these World War II Bibles. In the back is a section of psalms and hymns, including “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,”  “America the Beautiful,” and “The Star Spangled Banner.”  In the front, there is a note to the soldiers directly from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

the-heart-shield-bibles-of-world-war-ii-4 As Commander-in-Chief I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States. Throughout the centuries men of many faiths and diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel and inspiration. It is a foundation of strength and now, as always, an aid in attaining the highest aspirations of the human soul.

Well before America joined World War II, on the 400th anniversary of the English Bible in 1935, President Roosevelt reminded the nation of the Bible’s importance in America’s formation and continuance:

the-heart-shield-bibles-of-world-war-ii-5We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a Nation without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic. . . . Where we have been truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity; where it has been to us as the words of a book that is sealed, we have faltered in our way, lost our range finders, and found our progress checked. It is well that we observe this anniversary of the first publishing of our English Bible. The time is propitious to place a fresh emphasis upon its place and worth in the economy of our life as a people.4

Many other presidents encouraged Americans to read the Bible — including President John Quincy Adams. Interestingly, before becoming president and while serving as a diplomat to Russia under President James Madison, Adams wrote his ten-year-old son nine letters on the importance of reading the Bible, how to read through the Bible once a year, and how to get the most application form what he read. Immediately after Adams’ death in 1847, these letters were published as a book to make his wise counsel on the Bible available to all Americans. This work is titled John Quincy Adams Letters to His Son, on the Bible and Its Teachings.


Endnotes

1 Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Fireside Chat,” September 3, 1939, The American Presidency Project.
2 “Proclamation of September 5, 1939, Proclaiming the Neutrality of the United States in the War Between Germany and France; Poland; and the United Kingdom, India, Australia, and New Zealand,” September 5, 1939, Department of the State: Office of the Historian.
3 Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Address to Congress Requesting a Declaration of War with Japan,” December 8, 1941, The American Presidency Project.
4 Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Statement on the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Printing of the English Bible,” October 6, 1935, The American Presidency Project.

Flying High

flying-high-2
Henry Arnold at the controls of an aircraft in the Wright Flying School

In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed August 19th — the birthday of flight pioneer Orville Wright — as National Aviation Day.

Orville and his brother Wilbur were the pioneers of powered, controlled flight, and instituted the practice of training pilots before allowing them to fly. The Wright’s flight school was originally located in a field outside of Montgomery, Alabama (now Maxwell AFB), before relocating to a field outside of Dayton, Ohio.

Among the 119 flight students they trained was Lieutenant Henry “Hap” Arnold, who would later become the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II and the only person to hold the rank of five-star General in two military branches.

Few today know that the Wright Brothers were raised in a devoutly Christian family and were themselves devout and pious. Learn about the remarkable faith and accomplishments of this duo.

Did you know?
WallBuilders Library has a collection of artifacts from American history.Here are just a few of the WWII aviation related artifacts from our library:flying-high
flying-high-4

Memorial Day

memorial-day-1America has a long history of military members who have shown extraordinary courage, with many willingly giving their lives to secure the freedoms our nation enjoys, freedoms we often take for granted. On Memorial Day (originally known as Decoration Day) we honor the sacrifice of these brave men and women.

World War II (1941-1945) was an especially deadly war, with over 400,000 Americans being killed in famous military engagements such as the Battle of the Bulge and D-Day as well as in many other lesser known battles. Each life lost, whether in a major or an obscure battle, helped win peace and end tyranny. There were many heroes in that war, sung and unsung. 

memorial-day-2One amazing example of heroism occurred during the Campaign of Guadalcanal (August 1942-February 1943). Sergeant John Basilone and his handful of men were responsible for holding back a Japanese assault of thousands on October 24-25, 1942. Basilone, throughout this engagement, personally repaired and manned multiple machine guns. At times, he was unable to shoot his guns over the piles of dead Japanese who fell at the brink of his hill. When his small detachment ran low, Basilone fought his way through the Japanese lines to resupply critically-needed ammunition. The Americans eventually won this long campaign. As a result of his actions, Basilone was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. (The picture on the left is of a magazine personally signed by Basilone, one of the many World War II treasures we have in the WallBuilders library.)

memorial-day-3Later in the war at the Battle of Iwo Jima (February 19-March 26, 1945), Basilone came ashore with the first wave of Marines. Shortly after landing, his unit was trapped by machine guns from Japanese blockhouses. Basilone worked his way around one of these blockhouses and single-handedly destroyed it. Later, as he was making his way towards an airfield, he came across an American tank trapped in a minefield. While under fire, he guided the tank out of the minefield and to safety. He was later killed by flying shrapnel. Basilone was awarded the Navy Cross for his courageous actions during the battle.

There are many additional stories of heroic and noble acts by American soldiers throughout our history. Each Memorial Day as we remember the military members who lost their lives in battle, let us honor the courage they showed.

The mushroom clouds from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.

Hiroshima, Obama, and American Morals

Hiroshima, Obama, and American Morals

hiroshima-obama-and-american-morals-1On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Seventy-one years later, on May 27, 2016, President Obama visited Hiroshima – the only American president to do since World War II. That blast hastened the end of the War and helped halt further war deaths in the Pacific Theater beyond the 20 million lives already lost. But in his speech, Obama stated:

The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well. That is why we come to this place [Hiroshima]. . . . Mere words cannot give voice to such suffering, but we have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.

President Obama’s statement that Hiroshima calls for a moral revolution is a common view among Progressives, who repeatedly blame America for much of the evil in the world. But what is missing is the compelling evidence that given what was occurring in Japan at that time, using the atomic bomb was actually a very moral thing to do, indisputably saving millions of lives.
hiroshima-obama-and-american-morals-2With the war in Europe ended, Japan and the Pacific became the unitary focus of Allied military action. As American and Allied forces worked closer to Japan in victory after victory, Japan was extended multiple informal opportunities to surrender, including the public offer resulting from the Potsdam Conference, but all offers were rejected. An assault on Japan was therefore planned similar to that which had ended the war in Europe.

There would be a D-Day style invasion followed by Allied troops fighting their way across the island until they finally took complete control, forcing the enemy into the surrender that all sides knew was inevitable. Projections of fatalities resulting from the invasion ranged from around 7 million on the low side, up to 14 million on the high side. These projections included American, Allied, and Japanese deaths. Given this situation, there was no moral dilemma: Truman chose to save millions of both Japanese and Allied lives by using the atomic bomb and bringing the war to a quick close, but little known today are the extraordinary efforts made by the Americans to avoid using that bomb.

The radio station on Saipan (which was then in Allied control) began broadcasting information about the pending attack directly into Japan, and B-29s also dropped millions of leaflets telling the people exactly which cities would be bombed and what the effects would be. Americans pleaded with the Japanese to flee those cities and save their lives.
hiroshima-obama-and-american-morals-3For example, on July 28, one million leaflets were dropped over the 35 Japanese cities (including Hiroshima and Nagasaki) had been targeted for bombing in coming days, urging citizens to evacuate those cities. These actions by the American military were very risky as the bombers dropping the leaflets not only faced enemy attacks but also forewarned the Japanese military exactly where the American bombers would be coming. But American leadership felt these were acceptable risks in order to give Japanese civilians every opportunity to flee those cities.

Japan ignored America’s pleadings, and so the first atomic bomb was dropped at Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Over the next few days, President Truman warned the Japanese that a second bomb would be dropped unless surrender occurred, and those warnings were broadcast into Japan every fifteen minutes. Still, the Japanese refused to surrender. A second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, and Japanese leaders quickly notified the Allies of their surrender.

Significantly, neither bomb came as a surprise to the Japanese. Japan had been forewarned about what would happen, and they choose the path of the atomic bomb – both bombs were dropped due to choices made by the Japanese, not the Americans. Therefore, contrary to what President Obama and other Progressives suggest, any “moral dilemma” that exists about ending World War II should center on Japanese decisions, not American ones.

For many more surprising facts about the final months of World War II, see a longer (and footnoted) version of this article on the WallBuilders website.

Also, check out many of the WWII leaflets dropped by the B-29 bombers on Japan (like the one pictured above), available in the WallBuilders library here.

The USS Arizona sinks after it's bombed during the Pearl Harbor attacks in 1941.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor Day

remembering-pearl-harbor-1December 7, 1941 — the day Pearl Harbor was treacherously attacked by the Japanese — was described by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as “a date which will live in infamy.” It was the worst naval disaster in American history, and brought declarations of war by Japan, Germany, and Italy against the United States, and by America against them. For four long years, American men and women served and died on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific, fighting tyranny and eventually bringing liberty across the world.

Shortly after the initial attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt called America to a time of prayer, explaining:

The year 1941 has brought upon our Nation a war of aggression… Our strength – as the strength of all men everywhere – is of greater avail as God upholds us. Therefore, I…do hereby appoint the first day of the year 1942 as a day of prayer, of asking forgiveness for our shortcomings of the past, of consecration to the tasks of the present, of asking God’s help in days to come. We need His guidance that this people may be humble in spirit but strong in the conviction of the right – steadfast to endure sacrifice and brave to achieve a victory of liberty and peace.

remembering-pearl-harbor-2Three weeks later on January 6, 1942, he delivered his State of the Union Address, reminding America:

The world is too small to provide adequate living room for both Hitler and God. In proof of that, the Nazis have now announced their plan for enforcing their new German, pagan religion all over the world — a plan by which the Holy Bible and the Cross of Mercy would be displaced by Mein Kampf and the swastika and the naked sword.

(Pictured on the right is a WWII fund-raising poster from the WallBuilders library that was produced by the US government, depicting President Roosevelt’s words.) He understood that what began at Pearl Harbor was a spiritual conflict — an attack on the religion of the Bible — and that prayer would be a necessary spiritual weapon in that battle.

Today as we commemorate Pearl Harbor Day, we are still engaged in a spiritual struggle for the soul of the nation. And just as America did 75 years ago, we, too, should likewise seek God in prayer – seek His wisdom, ask forgiveness for our sins, and lift up before Him our honored military and their precious families. Remember to turn to God on this special day.