Pearl Harbor, a Day of Infamy remembered

Voice Correspondent
The battleship USS Arizona Memorial

Yesterday, Dec. 7, marked the 79th anniversary of the 1941 Japanese attack on the U.S. fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Veterans of the event say that morning dawned just like many others, until the sounds of airplanes filled the skies.

Soon torpedoes were in the water, bombs were falling and strafing began from an estimated 380 Japanese aircraft in two waves. Hours later, America’s “battleship row” was a disaster. The Arizona, Utah, California, Oklahoma, Maryland, and Nevada were all hit. Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Field, Kaneohe Naval Air Station, Hickam Field and others were also attacked.

In total, 2,403 Americans lost their lives on that “Day of Infamy,” as President Franklin Roosevelt said to Congress. Another 1,178 were injured, 18 ships sunk or badly damaged and 347 planes destroyed.

But as some historians point out, the Japanese made a few tactical mistakes. They did not strike the shipyards where repairs could begin and they did not strike the fuel storage areas. Over time the repairs were completed and some of those ships rejoined the fight against Japan, culminating in a Japanese surrender signing aboard the USS Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945.

Few World War II veterans are still among us. If you know one be sure to say thank you for their service. Dec. 7 and many other costly tragic days took 409,000 American lives in World War II. Let's remember them all.