A Date That Lives in Infamy

He spoke after the dawn’s early light, after he had received proof through the night. He spoke to a nation in mourning. He spoke with growing confidence, because he knew the morning would come when we would raise our flag in defiance; when we would plant our flag on enemy beaches; when we would fly our flag from island hilltops; when we would wave our flag in the streets; when we would win the war and lower the flag of the Empire of Japan.

He spoke about the events of the previous night.

He spoke in a refrain about last night, when Japanese forces had attacked Malaya, when Japanese forces had attacked Hong Kong, when Japanese forces had attacked Guam, when Japanese forces had attacked the Philippine islands, when Japanese forces had attacked Wake Island, when Japanese forces had attacked Midway Island.

He spoke about Pearl Harbor.

He spoke without apology.

He spoke without regard to party or politics.

He spoke with strength.

He spoke to the strength of the facts.

He spoke with certainty as commander in chief of the Army and Navy.

He spoke as the thrice-chosen head of a nation of 130 million.

He spoke as the 32nd president of the United States.

He spoke as an American.

He spoke as a man.

He spoke to posterity.

We speak of him with everything from reverence and awe to outrage and opposition.

We will never not speak the name Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Photo credit: VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images

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