President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established Columbus Day as a national holiday in 1934. In 1942, with an eye to a planned invasion of Italy, and to the upcoming elections (for which FDR needed the Italian vote), the government chose Columbus Day to announce that Italian Americans would no longer be considered enemies of the United States.
Always Faithful, A Memoir of the Marine Dogs of WWII, by Captain William W. Putney tells the story of the dogs that fought in Guam and the other Pacific Islands. The dogs were used for scouting, attacks, carrying messages, detecting mines, and guarding. The dogs scouted in front of more than 550 patrols on the island of Guam. Not one patrol was ambushed, but 25 dogs died in service. As Captain Putney writes in his book:
“The sacrifices of these dogs were recognized by everyone of us that served in the 2nd and 3rd War Dog Platoons. They died; we lived.”
Seventy-three years ago, Americans sat by the radio horrified by Japan’s sneak attack on the Pacific Fleet in Honolulu. They wanted to know more than the radio could tell them. Were their loved ones safe, what would the Japanese do next, would the United States be drawn into the war against the Germans and the Russians, Japan’s allies. After hearing about Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill said “he went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful.“