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‘The greatest test’: Rep. Loudermilk invokes Pearl Harbor, 9/11 to encourage Americans to be resolute

The Marietta Daily Journal | ‘The greatest test’: Rep. Loudermilk invokes Pearl Harbor, 9/11 to encourage Americans to be resolute
By Ricky LeRoux

CUMBERLAND — With uncertainty and worry on the minds of many after recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, said Monday that America’s resolve is being tested, just as it has been throughout the nation’s history. 

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” Loudermilk said. “Because we have liberty, because we have freedom, we will always have to defend that freedom. That isn’t something that just happened in 1776 over the period of an eight-year revolutionary war. It is not just something that happened in World War II. It’s not just something that happened in Korea, in Vietnam or the War on Terror. It’s something that happens every day in every person’s life in this nation.”

Speaking to a crowd of 375 at the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s First Monday Breakfast event, Loudermilk pointed to the American response after Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese 74 years ago to the day on Dec. 7, 1941. Loudermilk said the Pearl Harbor attack was the “greatest test” of Americans’ resolve to defend freedom since the country was founded.

“I think it’s important that we be reminded of the cost, but also what we have to do to preserve that freedom. This attack on Americans was unprecedented at the time. Over 2,300 U.S. servicemen lost their lives within a matter of a few minutes,” Loudermilk said.

The Japanese attacked in an attempt to keep America from entering the war, Loudermilk continued.

“They perceived America as being weak,” he said. “We were too willing to negotiate peace. They saw that as a sign of weakness that we weren’t willing to go into war. … They thought that we were too dedicated to our luxuries, that we would never give up the luxuries and comforts that we have to fight a war, especially a war on the other side of the world.”

Loudermilk then relayed the story of Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who is said to have remarked after the Pearl Harbor attack that the Japanese had awoken a “sleeping giant.” Loudermilk said Yamamoto was right and cited a more recent example of Americans responding to adversity.

“Do we still have the resolve? Do we still have the resolve that we had during the times of World War II? On Sept. 11, 2001, we saw that we still have the resolve,” he said.

Both Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11 attacks show that Americans can overcome the fear and tribulation that comes in uncertain times, Loudermilk said.

Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews, who attended Monday morning’s event, said he thought Loudermilk gave an “uplifting” speech.

“America’s pretty resilient and we, as a country, have come back from pretty serious events throughout history, and we come back bigger and stronger and better. I think we’ll do the same thing here. We’ll stand up to the challenge,” Mathews said.

Police in San Bernardino have said the two suspects attacked a holiday party for county employees, an event not unlike the chamber breakfast. Mathews said while some may worry about going to those kind of events “in the back of (their) minds,” everyone should keep “forging ahead” and continue to go about their lives. 

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - The greatest test Rep Loudermilk invokes Pearl Harbor 9 11 to encourage Americans to be resolute