Today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in the United States. The first time and only time the United States of America, as a sovereign country, was attacked by foreign military on its own soil was on December 7, 1941: “a date that will live in infamy,” said US President and brother Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Americans all know the story. We learned it in school history classes and watched it in movies, or we lived through it. Although I was not even close to born at the time, the ramifications of such an attack by an outside aggressor lives on in our nation’s history and memory, even today. Yet, we recognize that we were made vulnerable in an instant, causing great uncertainty across the nation. To be sure, many mistakes were made when uncertainty promotes irrational and emotionally heated responses, supplanting reason altogether. However, today is not the day to discuss such mistakes made, but to remember those men and women who lost their lives on that infamous day.
After the Japanese Imperial Navy’s vicious surprise attack, all eight battleships docked at Pearl Harbor were damaged and four were sunk. Several more navy vessels and 188 aircraft were also destroyed. In all, 2403 Americans were killed with another 1178 wounded. Mostly military personnel, but some civilians too. Prior to this point, America had not yet joined the war against Germany, Italy, and Japan. The very next day, the US Congress declared war on Japan and the rest is history.
Watch the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day 74th Anniversary Commemoration here.