On Dec. 7, 1941, the US naval fleet came under attack at Pearl Harbor, leading the nation's entry into World War II.
Pearl Harbour, a naval base in Hawaii, had just been attacked by the Japanese, hastening the United States entrance into World War II. "It has been a busy day". Seventy-five years after the attack, these heroes still inspire us with recollections of unity, bravery, and service to our country. "But I'm confident that many will set aside their own personal bitterness, not because they're personally satisfied by the words of the Prime Minister, but because they recognize how important this moment is for the United States".
But Americans should never forget what happened on that bloody day: the perfidy, the tragedy and, most of all, the bravery and unbelievable heroism.
Downing, who was the battleship's postmaster, worked to write the families of every sailor from the West Virginia killed in the attack.
Sadly, when our nation reaches the milestone anniversaries of World War II these days, conversation turns to how the inexorable march of time is reducing the ranks of surviving veterans from "The Greatest Generation".
"Weakness invites aggression", said Downing.
"I remember it vividly", said Mendoza.
Downing became an officer after the attacks and stayed in the Navy until 1956, when he retired as a lieutenant.
"I was 16, playing touch football at a friend's house and his father came out and said boys Pearl Harbor's been bombed", Floyd Brantley recalls.
American defenders had managed to shoot down 29 of Japan's planes, but the attack proved that we were more vulnerable than we had realized and were not immune from attacks in American territory.
Damage to the forward decks of USS Nevada, at Pearl Harbor, December 1941.
"We had to patrol around the Missouri when peace was signed", Bowman said.