Monday, December 7, 2020

Pearl Harbor Day

"December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy," President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously proclaimed. And today is Pearl Harbor Day, the 79th anniversary 
of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

My mother was ten years old when the attack happened. She was playing with paper dolls (in the days before Barbies) when she heard the announcement on the radio (before the days of television). At that young age, she wasn't too aware of what was going on, but she remembers neighbors (back in the days when people actually knew their neighbors) gathering in her home later that day and discussing what would happen next.

War had been raging in Europe for two years, but the US had yet to become involved, other than providing aid to the United Kingdom. So what did happen next as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor? An article from explains it well:

The surprise raid on the major U.S. Navy base near Honolulu killed more than 2,400 Americans and left another 1,100 injured. In short, the strike signaled the entry of the United States into World War II.

Just before 8 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese planes made the surprise raid on Pearl Harbor. During the attack, which was launched from aircraft carriers, nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, were damaged or destroyed, as well as more than 300 aircraft.

The official American death toll was 2,403, according to the Pearl Harbor Visitors Bureau, including 2,008 Navy personnel, 109 Marines, 218 Army service members and 68 civilians. Of the dead, 1,177 were from the USS Arizona, the wreckage of which now serves as the main memorial to the incident. Fifty-five Japanese soldiers also were killed.

Until the raid, the U.S. had been reluctant to join World War II, which had started on Sept. 1, 1939, after Germany invaded Poland.

In those nearly 2 1/2 years, the U.S. had extensively assisted the United Kingdom, virtually the sole source of resistance to the Nazis in Europe, with arms and other supplies. However, the goal of isolationism – brought on, according to the State Department’s Office of the Historian, by the Great Depression and the memory of massive losses during World War I – led Roosevelt and Congress to be wary of intervention. Pearl Harbor reversed that in a day, with Congress issuing a declaration of war after Roosevelt’s speech on Dec. 8, 1941.

And as they say, the rest id history! Do you have any relatives that remember that day? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!