The Washington Times - December 7, 2011, 10:38AM

President Obama on Wednesday marked the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor with a rhetorical nod to his own recent language about the importance of the middle class and the need to press for higher taxes on wealthy Americans.

In a statement, Mr. Obama praised World War II veterans “who overcame the Depression, crossed oceans and stormed the beaches to defeat fascism, and turned adversaries into our closest allies.”

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“When the guns fell silent, they came home, went to school on the G.I. Bill, and built the largest middle class in history and the strongest economy in the world,” Mr. Obama said. “They remind us that no challenge is too great when Americans stand as one.”

The president’s “stand as one” theme featured prominently in his speech in Kansas on Tuesday when he called for wealthier Americans to pay more in taxes, part of his endeavor to correct inequalities in wealth that Mr. Obama called “the defining issue of our time.”

Mr. Obama also said the anniversary of the “unprovoked” Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is an opportunity to reaffirm the nation’s commitment to carry on the work of U.S. veterans — “to keeping the country we love strong, free and prosperous.”