It was another beautiful day in paradise. The sun was shining, the air was warm and everything was peaceful. But a horrible sound pierced that quiet morning. The sound of planes, hundreds of planes, then the loud boom of explosions and screams rang out. It was not even 8:00 a.m. and the beautiful coast of Hawaii was under attack. The blue sky filled with smoke and ash and the peace was gone.
Seventy years ago, on December 7, 1941, Japan launched an assault on the United States of America. The Japanese Imperial Navy attacked the American Army and Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Japanese torpedo planes flew over the base dropping bombs that killed and injured more than 3,000 American citizens.
The goal of the Japanese military attack was to prevent the United States from interfering with their efforts during World War II. Japan felt that the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor was a threat and sought to destroy it with a surprise attack. However, this attack actually had the reverse effect as the United States declared war on Japan the next day and ultimately emerged victorious in one of the most important and devastating military conflicts the world has ever experienced.
While we won the war, hundreds of thousands of American lives were lost and untold numbers of families left devastated. Seventy years have passed since the Pearl Harbor attacks, but we must keep the memories alive and teach our youth about the significance of these attacks and our brave service men and women who have fought and continue to fight to defend out great nation.
For this reason, I have introduced legislation that would recognize Camp Evans as a State and National Historic District and support its preservation as a World War II living memorial. Located in Wall Township, Camp Evans housed the World War II Radar Laboratory where radar devices were built and equipment was designed that was used in every major stage of battle by the Allied nations and helped the United States win the war that we were drawn into that fateful day 70 years ago.
Under this legislation, a portion of Camp Evans will be preserved as a historic monument and it will be available to families and school groups to improve the public’s understanding of science and history through an interactive learning center focused on communication pioneers of the wireless technology, World War I, World War II, space exploration, and the Cold War.
It is important to preserve the history of these wars and to teach our youth not only the significance of remembering, but also the significance of taking an active role in honoring our veterans and active service men and women. There are several ways to do this, and right here in Monmouth County we have the opportunity to participate in several events specifically honoring Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
While many may not be able to attend official ceremonies, we can all take the time to recognize the brave men and women who have served, fought for, and even paid the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation. I encourage everyone to pause for a moment and reflect on the lives lost, but also for the freedom gained as a result of the sacrifices of our active soldiers and our veterans.
Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini