Editor’s note: Today, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, marks the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The following is an excerpt from the Knoxville Journal editorial of Dec. 11, 1941.
We are at war! A treacherous and powerful enemy has attacked us, fired upon our flag, invaded our distant territories, crippled our ships and fortifications, injured and killed thousands of our sailors and soldiers, and brought the threats of bombs to the very gateways of our Pacific coast.
We are indeed at war - a war that is certain to bring fierce struggle, not from one foe alone, but several. It is time that we acted the part of a people thus endangered.
That “we doesn’t mean the government, which has for months been moving at high speed to prepare for just such situation as the nation now faces. It means “we, the people,” the men and women in this community, in other communities everywhere.
We have, it is true, thought about war, talked about war, but chiefly as a subject of conversation about a thing far away across oceans, and not as a fact of close concern to us. The time for that sort of thing has gone by and the time for whole-hearted patriotic action has come. We need to fly our flags, join in every task that is set us for aiding defense, and dig into our pockets for every dime or dollar that we can give to support the needs of our country’s defense.
The job ahead is not one only for the men who enlist and go away to fight, but for every man and woman of us who stays at home. And it’s not an incidental job for any of us; it’s a job that ranks first.
Japan’s sudden and smashing attack upon Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Manila in the Philippines and several vital smaller islands between these outposts was treacherous, dastardly. Of that there is little doubt. The plan must have been set up and all movements of battleships, airplanes and their carriers must have been made while Japanese envoys were on their way to Washington, bearing the white flag of peace. It could not have been otherwise.