Huffpost Politics

Pearl Harbor Day 2011: Remembering FDR's Address On 70th Anniversary (VIDEO)

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On Dec. 7, 1941, 70 years ago today, the United States naval base on the southern coast of Oahu Island, Hawaii known as Pearl Harbor was hit by a surprise Japanese airstrike. The base was home to the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet.

"There were bodies everywhere," Navy veteran Lou Gore told Reuters of the Pearl Harbor attack.

70 years later, veterans are visiting the scene where 2,390 Americans lost their lives, and the reason United States entered World War II.

"They want to return and be with the shipmates that they lost during the attack," Jim Taylor, a retired sailor who coordinates the memorial ceremonies, told the Associated Press.

The attack propelled America into WWII, a conflict with which many in the country had been reluctant to get involved. But the day after Pearl Harbor marked one of the most iconic moments in Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and U.S. history.

His Pearl Harbor address, in which he famously referred to the event as "a date which will live in infamy," called congress to join the war. The speech was recorded on video, and is posted above.

Below, find the full text of Roosevelt's Pearl Harbor address.

"Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

... Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory."

FDR famously decided to keep the speech short, in order to intensify the dramatic effect. To view the full transcript of the speech, click over to Americanrhetoric.com.