Pearl Harbor Remembrance

The attack on Pearl Harbor (or Hawaii Operation, Operation Z, as it was called by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters)[6] was an unannounced military strike conducted by the Japanese navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941. It resulted in the United States entry into World War II. The attack was intended as a preventive action to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from influencing the war the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against Britain and the Netherlands, as well as the U.S. in the Philippines. The attack consisted of two aerial attack waves totaling 353[7] aircraft, launched from six Japanese aircraft carriers.

The attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships (two of which were raised and returned to service later in the war) and damaged four more. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer, destroyed 188 aircraft, and caused personnel losses of 2,402 killed[8] and 1,282 wounded. The power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not hit. Japanese losses were minimal, with 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured.

The attack was a major engagement of World War II. It took place before a formal declaration of war by Japan and before the last part of a 14-part message had been delivered to the State Department in Washington, D.C. The Japanese Embassy in Washington had been instructed to deliver it immediately prior to the scheduled time of the attack in Hawaii. The attack, and especially its surprise nature, were both factors which swayed U.S. public opinion from isolationism to support for direct participation in the war. Germany’s prompt declaration of war, unforced by any treaty commitment to Japan, quickly brought the United States into the European Theater as well. Despite numerous historical precedents of unannounced military action, the lack of any formal declaration prior to the attack led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim “December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy”.

All together the Japanese sank or severely damaged 18 ships, including the 8 battleships, three light cruisers, and three destroyers. On the airfields the Japanese destroyed 161 American planes (Army 74, Navy 87) and seriously damaged 102 (Army 71, Navy 31).

The Navy and Marine Corps suffered a total of 2,896 casualties of which 2,117 were deaths (Navy 2,008, Marines 109) and 779 wounded (Navy 710, Marines 69). The Army (as of midnight, 10 December) lost 228 killed or died of wounds, 113 seriously wounded and 346 slightly wounded. In addition, at least 57 civilians were killed and nearly as many seriously injured.

The Japanese lost 29 planes over Oahu, one large submarine (on 10 December), and all five of the midget submarines. Their personnel losses (according to Japanese sources) were 55 airmen, nine crewmen on the midget submarines, and an unknown number on the large submarines. The Japanese carrier task force sailed away undetected and unscathed.

In 1941 the greatest tragedy in world history unfolded.

“December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy…” When President Roosevelt spoke these words, I believe he knew that indeed, this day would be remembered as long as America lives on. This marked the first time (and still the last) since the War of 1812 that foreign shots were fired on American soil. Not until the sneak attacks on 9/11 would America have experienced such loss of life on our own land.

“Tora! Tora! Tora!”, Japanese for “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!” was the code call that started the attack on the Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Although warned that there might be an attack somewhere in the Pacific and some time soon, our boys were caught with their guard down, and suffered heavy losses. This is the attack that brought America into WWII. This is the attack that changed history, and led to the world we live in today.

Let us remember the men and women who fought and died on this day 68 years ago. Let us remember that they fought for what they believed in, and that their sacrifices were not in vain. They fought for freedom, and to make the world a better place.

Well, they succeeded. If not for the these men and women, you wouldn’t be reading this now. You wouldn’t have a home computer, or an iPod, or a digital camera. You wouldn’t have had 8-Track tapes and Huffy bikes as a kid, or Jazz music today. It’s because of the advances in technology and the freedom to create that you have these to enjoy.

My grandfather was in WWII and i am very proud to say so. My family was a part of our world history.  Thank you to all who have served in any war.

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Published in: on December 7, 2009 at 10:32 PM  Leave a Comment  
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