I am feeling angry today. Angry that we still haven’t learned the lessons of the past.
Sometimes this day makes me feel sad but it never fails to move me. I have been to Pearl Harbor. I have heard the broadcasts. I have seen the films. I have been moved beyond description by the events that happened 10 years before my time.
December 7, 1941. The day that will live in Infamy!
The quiet of a peaceful day in paradise was shattered when at 7:48 am Hawaiian Time the base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers.
Ninety minutes after it began, the attack was over, as 2,386 Americans died (48 – 68 were civilians, most killed by unexploded American anti-aircraft shells landing in civilian areas), a further 1,139 wounded. Eighteen ships were sunk or run aground, including five battleships.
Of the American fatalities, nearly half were due to the explosion of the Arizona’s forward magazine after it took a hit by a 16 in. shell.
The Japanese expected to keep America out of the war by destroying the fleet. Instead they only served to “awaken a sleeping giant.”
In the wake of the attack, 15 Medals of Honor, 51 Navy Crosses, 53 Silver Stars, four Navy and Marine Corps Medals, one Distinguished Flying Cross, four Distinguished Service Crosses, one Distinguished Service Medal, and three Bronze Star Medals were awarded to the American servicemen who distinguished themselves in combat at Pearl Harbor. Additionally, a special military award, the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal, was later authorized for all military veterans of the attack.
Go to Oahu, visit Pearl Harbor, thank all of those young men and women who woke up in Paradise and ended their day in Hell.