12/07/2014 01:06 pm ET Updated Feb 06, 2015

The Tapestry of December 7th

It's been 73 years since the Day of Infamy. So many of the people that lived it are now gone. But their echoes and the lessons they impart to our lives continue.

When I think of December 7, I remember it is the day my elders began the most difficult four years of their lives. I have seen in their eyes the fear, anger and resolve that come from experiencing what it was like to survive in territory occupied by the Empire of the Rising Sun. My mother had never heard of Pearl Harbor. For her, World War II began on the same day seeing the Japanese bomb a U.S. naval installation called Cubi Point at the entrance to Manila Bay in the Philippine Islands. My maternal grandfather never spoke of what horrors he had seen on the Bataan Death March, or his years in the prison camps. When I look at my father, I always see the aura of my other grandfather's memories of his son -- my father -- hanging off the side of a Japanese patrol boat with an Arisaka rifle pointed at him, forced to give up the catch needed to feed his family to save him, in the middle of the night, in a place called Subic Bay.

The above is a vignette. The story is repeated millions of times embodied in the family histories of the human race. One cannot help when hearing these anecdotes to be horrified at just how detailed the planning must have been by the Japanese Imperial High Command to have put together an attack so brutally complete spanning half a planet in one 24-hour period. The arrogance of such an act boggles the mind.

Time has passed, but the poignancy has not faded. Each December 7th I am thankful my elders survived. I would not be here to muse about it if they hadn't. The echoes of their ordeal drive me deeply to make sure that such a thing will never happen again. Whether called the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere or some other name made up by the contemporaries of my day, the evil that lurks underneath those who believe their ideas justify the horrors they impose must always be confronted and defeated.

In case you are wondering, the point of this article is a message meant for today. There will always be people waiting behind the blades of grass.