Today, December 7th, we pause to remember the surprise attack and terrifying battle at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii which catapulted the United States into World War II. In the morning hours of December 7th, 1941, the Japanese launched a broad-scale attack with war planes and submarines, not only against Pearl Harbor, but against the surrounding air bases and barracks.
ships from the US fleet lay in the harbor, brought there in preparation
for a war that arrived a little bit too soon. Complete chaos reigned
that day, as the US Navy, Marines, Army and Air Force struggled to
rebuff the two waves of buzzing bombers. When the smoke cleared, 21 huge
ships had been sunk or damaged, cluttering the harbor. 323 aircraft had
been destroyed or damaged. But that loss was as nothing compared to the
2,390 people killed, and 1,178 wounded. These numbers included about 84
One of the first ships to sink was the USS Arizona,
which exploded when an armor-piercing bomb cannon-balled through her
deck and into the ammunition magazine. In less than 9 minutes, she went
under with 1,177 of her crew. The USS Arizona still sleeps on the floor of Pearl Harbor, and today the USS Arizona Memorial floats serenely above it.
Like a ghost from the past, the outline of the mighty warship can be seen through the clear blue water.
let's honor the courage, sacrifice and loss of the brave men and women
who fought at Pearl Harbor. Some fought to repel the Japanese, some
fought to create order out of madness, some fought to defend their homes
on this beautiful island, and many fought to save the lives of others.
For a first-hand experience (fictionalized), try A Boy At War: A Novel Of Pearl Harbor by Harry Mazer
For true stories from Pearl Harbor survivors, facts, and statistics, visit this great website by the National Park Service.