Everything pointed to it being another quiet, blue day on the island of Honolulu, Hawaii. The fleet at Pearl Harbor's naval base still, in a neutral position without joining the Allied troops, which had started World War II in 1939.
That reality was about to change when, on 7 December 1941, Japanese air forces filled the skies with 353 planes and attacked the heart of the American naval base. Of the 8 American warships hit, Arizona and Oklahoma sank and the remaining 6 suffered severe damage. In all, 20 military ships experienced heavy destruction and 188 planes were shot down in this unexpected attack, which saw no response. Japan officially declared war on the USA and caused more than 2300 deaths and 1178 injuries, in contrast to the 100 Japanese lives it sacrificed.
In a speech to the nation and addressing the American Congress, Franklin Roosevelt stated that in the face of such a vile attack, 7 December 1941 would be “a date that will live in infamy”. The United States, together with the Allied forces, went to war.
This is the image that has haunted us. “It looks like a war scenario”, say so many people from different quarters and with the astonishment of those who did not expect such an attack, even though they knew that, in a place far away, a city (Wuhan) was isolated because its population was contaminated. And so a severe attack came, crossing the air borders and settled silently in the brains of the greatest and the smallest world powers. To date it has killed 2,483,413 of powerful, poor, old and very young, good and bad people, with ideals or without them. They died without criterion, without the right to defend themselves. They were killed without the right to farewell and mourning. And you still think we're not at war?
"This is being exaggerated by the great economic forces that want to dominate the world and the weak", some say, as if we were in a virtual game and could play between opposite sides. The invisible enemy left no room for manoeuvre, but the world counterattacked through the scientific community and medical teams. With difficulty, the politicians got together and asked each other to protect himself, in order to protect everyone. Rules and measures that prevent freedom were created, the last stronghold to make us to realize that we were in a war that is too serious and for which there is no answer yet.
January and February were our darkest months, when chaos broke out and the medical teams faced it, while science was at the same time designing the counterattack strategy. Days and nights in a row, with deprivation of sleep, emotions, without access to families, alone, without fear preventing them from continuing to do what they set out to do in life: take care of others.
These are the people we speak of in this February issue. Our people trained in this Faculty, or those who go to the front line, who put life ahead of danger, with a greater purpose, that of the nation, or that of the other.
These are the people we ask to speak to us without filters, in a simple way, about the combat, about the enemy, about what they feel in the presence of the victims they come or came across. These fibre warriors have a name and a face and have multiple roles in our society and, happily, in our lives: Diogo Ayres de Campos, Vice-Admiral Silvestre Correia, Miguel Esperança Martins, Catarina Jacinto Correia and António Urbano.
And what does it mean to be on the side of those who got infected? Our student Mário Andrade told us about his experience.
We remember the past through the history of Ernesto Roma and focus on the headlines of the present, with the February news. Faced with new times that have come as an alternative path to this war of distance, we tell you about the great national fair that places our Faculty in the virtual shop window, opening its doors to the country.
It is possible that the worst attack of this war has already been inflicted on us. But may memory never erase those who, in chaos, have stood up in the name of all.
It is particularly to them that we dedicate this issue.
May our history be worthy of what you have done for us, as our memory and gratitude have already immortalized you.