December 7, 1941

americanfreedomToday marks the beginning of the modern civil rights movement in the United States of America.  72 years ago today the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked US military forces on the island territory of Hawaii, setting into motion a massive mobilization of Americans that would leave our nation dramatically changed in its demands for equality.  Women, racial minorities, LGBT people, and other disenfranchised citizens would experience military life and the challenges of war where survival was based on teamwork and divisions disappeared in the necessity of working side-by-side with people who were different.   Prejudices were dissolved, and minorities demonstrated their equal patriotism through courage and sacrifice.  American servicemen and women would experience the horrors of the battlefield and discoveries of atrocities committed against minorities overseas, and they would return home determined that oppression was an unacceptable step towards Holocaust.  Women would leave traditional roles and take on jobs outside the home for the first time, and many more would serve in the war performing vital duties where women had never been welcome before.  And LGBT Americans would leave the oppressive life of small town America to discover a world where they were more free to find love and fulfillment.   Today we must pause to remember the many young men and women who lost their lives this day, and give a thoughtful Pearl Harbormoment to recall the beginning of a titanic struggle, a struggle that would leave our great nation as one of the superpowers of the earth, and a people determined to build a society where all citizens could one day enjoy genuine freedom and the the true justice of equality.  We are the evolving dream of American largely due to the events of today, those incredible 72 years ago.

Danny Ingram, National Treasurer and Immediate Past President
American Veterans for Equal Rights