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A day for the First State, a day for the unbroken American spirit

WILMINGTON, Delaware -- Today is Delaware Day.

We are the state that started a nation. Hopefully, we all know and understand the power and beauty of our National and State Constitutions. The Delaware National Guard receives the authority for our existence and instructions for how we are called into action to help our fellow citizens and defend our nation from those two documents. Therefore I celebrate in my mind and in my heart the fact that today is Delaware Day, the day that Delaware became the first state in 1787 to ratify the Federal Constitution of the United States of America. This day has been celebrated for 78 years, beginning in 1933.

So, let us take a minute to remember the service and foresight of those forefathers who wrote both of these constitutions, and to recall the sacrifice and valor demonstrated by those Americans who served at Pearl Harbor 70 years ago, and whom we also honor this day.

Because today is also National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

As a uniformed American service member like you, I have read and heard the stories of sacrifice that occurred the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when U.S. military forces in the Pacific were attacked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by the Japanese Imperial Navy.

While Americans back home were shocked to hear the news of that awful day, Americans in uniform started fighting back moments after the first dive bombers dropped ordnance that struck American targets shortly before 8:00 a.m. The Japanese aircrews achieved complete surprise. But to the credit of the American forces, U.S. Navy Sailors and Marines tended to the wounded and fought back, manning anti-aircraft batteries, launching what undamaged aircraft into the air they could and getting some ships heading out to sea.

The American military forces suffered devastating losses, but their fighting spirit never broke. That unbroken spirit in each American service member, and in those who stood ready to wear the uniform, carried the nation to victory in Japan and also in Europe. Since Dec. 7, 1941, America and her uniformed service members have suffered real misfortunes and many dismal days. Yet the spirit evident in those American fighting forces on Dec. 7, 1941 has never been extinguished and is the prime reason we have survived as a democratic and pluralistic nation. It is also why we remain a nation that most of the world still envies and looks to for essential leadership to solve problems and help freedom prosper.

We must never forget and always remain vigilant.

Yours in service,

Francis D. Vavala
Major General
The Adjutant General, Delaware