75th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor


December 07, 2016

Today – Mr. Stéphane Ouellette, President and Chief Executive Officer, Merchant Navy Commemorative Theme Project (MNCTP), encouraged fellow Canadians to pause for a “minute of silence” to remember the more than 2,400 Americans that were killed, and over 1,200 that were injured, during the attack on Pearl Harbor, that occurred shortly before 8 am on Sunday, December 7th, 1941. This attack also caused untold damage to the Pacific Fleet.

“Remembering our fallen heroes and the price they paid for our freedom is the first step in learning and understanding the ideals, values, and principles for which our veterans fought and died. Indeed, the purity of this substance, that should always remain sacrosanct, dictates the integrity and strength of the binding force of a nation’s social cohesion, and forms the very bedrock on which our democratic institutions are built.”

“As a Canadian Citizen dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of the Allied Merchant Navy and the American Merchant Marine, I am extraordinarily proud and I am deeply indebted to all our veterans, and our men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces. I extend this very sentiment to our American neighbors on this most solemn day and forevermore.”

– Mr. Stéphane Ouellette, President and CEO, MNCTP

In an interview, on the December 4, 2016, CBS News Sunday Morning Edition, Mr. Daniel Martinez, Chief Historian, The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (Honolulu, Hawaii), expressed concern that with each passing anniversary, the collective memory of December 7th, 1941, is fading.

Mr. Martinez further stated:

“…most of the young people that come here do not have a clue of what happened here at this place…they do not even have a clue as to who won the war. How will we remember World War Two after they (our WWII Veterans) are gone?”

Suffering a similar fate, the American Merchant Marine and Allied Merchant Navy Veterans have become the “uttermost” marginalized group of war veterans in global military history. These “Unsung Heroes” have gone virtually unrecognized for over a century. All this despite the constant life-threatening conditions they faced and the high losses of life they experienced. Undeniably, they were the mainstay of the Allied Forces victories in both World Wars.

During the Second World War, for example, a total of 25,343 merchant ships, with 164,783,921 tons of cargo on board, sailed from North America to Britain. Over 6,835 American Merchant Marine were killed, in addition to over 11,000 being wounded, and the taking of 604 prisoners of war, of whom 61 died in POW camps, out of the more than 250,000 Merchant Marine that sailed. The Canadian Merchant Navy Seaman lost over 2,199 in both WWI and WWII.

Given our two countries’ proud dual heritage and strong European ties, we must stop relegating such important elements of our past to the outskirts of present day policy. Jointly promoting our history, with other nations, can help build closer relations between countries by generating cultural kingships, and encouraging the sharing of democratic traditions and social values.

Canada and the United States of America are among the most accepting, free, and democratic countries in the world. And we owe it all to our Veterans, and to the men and women in uniform that continue to serve our nations to this very day. In this way, we must ensure that the stories of our forgotten heroes of the Allied Merchant Navy and American Merchant Marine, and all other forgotten veterans’ groups, are highlighted equally with their military counterparts, in an effort to ensure they hold their rightful place in our history books. Our children and the world must know and understand who these men and women were, and we must teach our youth to honour them — we must ensure the Passing of the Torch!

About the MNCTP

The Merchant Navy Commemorative Theme Project (MNCTP) is a "Canadian driven" initiative dedicated to educating Canadians, Americans, and the international community about the sacrifices and contributions made by the Allied Merchant Navy and the American Merchant Marine as the mainstay of the Allied Forces victories in both World War I and World War II.

The MNCTP aims to bridge the gap between the present day shipping industry and its glorious and predominantly forgotten past. By interconnecting historical fragments into a united whole, the MNCTP ensures that the heroic tales of our seafarers are told alongside their military and other civilian counterparts.

This initiative will also help educate Canadians, Americans, and members of the international community on the vital contributions made by the modern trade-and-travel-by-sea to international security and to the global economy.

For more information on the Allied Merchant Navy and the American Merchant Marine, please select:

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