I am reminded today, reflecting on the war and the successes so far, of a quotation attributed to Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto, the architect of Pearl Harbor and Midway. He cautioned his superiors after the attack on the Pacific Fleet on Dec. 7, 1941, “We have awakened a sleeping giant and have instilled in him a terrible resolve.” He recognized from his time here living among us as a student at Harvard University that Americans are a peaceful people yet strong. We may appear to be numbed by mindless entertainment and consumed with pursuit of pleasure, but when roused America is a fierce and relentless foe. We are not quick to anger, but prod us enough and like a sleeping bear we rise to defend ourselves. Victor Davis Hanson put it best:
It is as difficult to provoke the United States as it is to survive its eventual and tardy response. We will take months, years, even decades of slurs, random murdering of our own, terrorism, and general hostility before acting ’t too bad. Our flaws are many—legalized abortion, promiscuity, general irreligiousness—but when the pressure’s on as it has been since 9/11, there are flashes of what we can truly be. I pray to God that He will bless our country and enlighten us so that we can attain and deserve the greatness and leadership for the world that we see is possible.