On a Day of Infamy, Remember


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Sixty-nine years ago, the world was transformed as soon as the first Japanese bombs began their descent over Pearl Harbor in a deliberate attack on the United States. Before that morning, Americans watched a foreign war grow outside of its borders into a worldwide crisis. The sudden attack on Naval forces in Hawaii brought the war home for every citizen of the country. President Roosevelt gave one of the most rousing speeches in history the following day, a declaration of war that entered the United States into what would be known as World War II. The ‘Date of Infamy’ gave rise to the Greatest Generation, and the biggest military engagement in human history.

Little can be added to the pages of history when it comes to December 7, 1941, but one fact must be given immediate and grave attention: the number of Pearl Harbor survivors continues its terrible spiral downward. 2,390 Americans gave their lives during the struggle that day, most of them aboard the USS Arizona. Many more survived the attack only to go on and fight against the Axis Powers all the way to the end of the war. Those that survived through V-J Day and beyond went to tell the story of their commitment and sacrifice. Sadly, more stories are ending every day. Veterans of the Pearl Harbor attack number somewhere between two and four thousand, and only twenty from the USS Arizona. Just five remain in good enough health to travel to the memorial.

Every year, we take this day out to remember Pearl Harbor and the story of sacrifice and commitment that unfolded there. Veterans are the most sacred of our national treasures, Pearl Harbor Vets especially. Remember what they gave us. If you or someone you know was there 69 years ago, please leave your story in the comments section.

Author

Alex Horton

Comments

  1. RB    

    I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to visit the USS Arizona Memorial several times. The part that always makes me tear up (and give me chills as I write this) is the list of men and women who requested to be entombed with their fallen comrades who were on that ship.

    I wasn’t alive when it happened, but I know how I felt just being there, and I won’t ever forget about it.

  2. Luke    

    Thanks for the great info

    Good luck and keep up the good work
    Best Wishes
    Luke

  3. Nox Edge    

    That’s quite good post and well written.

  4. Gevalia Coffee    

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  5. John    

    Thank you for your service.

  6. T. Miller II    

    On this day 17 years ago, I shipped out to Great Lakes IL, for boot camp during what would be one of the absolute coldest winters on record. At the time, I did not understand the significance of starting my Naval career on such an important day in Naval history.

    There’s a lot of personal pride that goes along with this anniversary. Knowing who I was, and the road I was traveling in life, and who I became, thanks to my time enlisted in the Seabees.

    Company 910 marched with every guidon available in boot camp, including the Cock of the Walk and the Recruit Olympics flags. Not only did we have to go through the regular training everyone else did in boot camp, we were the drill team – spinning rifles and such at graduations, including our own. Countless hours of training on top of the already full schedule of boot camp.

    I’m very proud to share this anniversary. Had I not been injured and completely disabled, I’d still be there. I often miss it – but today, I look back fondly, on some of the toughest training and best days of my life. You will not find a finer breed of men and women in the world than those serving the US Navy.

    Ooh-Rah.

  7. Richard E. Clinton    

    My father fought in Europe, my Uncle in the South Pacific. The WWII Vets and their families gave up a lot for all of us. May they rest in peace or live in peace.

  8. brenda hayes    

    I have three living Uncles that served during WW11 as well as one good friend who died several years ago. Two Army and Two Navy men who served Proudly and with Honor.

    They didn’t talk much about what they did or how they survived; but I was able to get one of them to go to the Vet Center. I know it was good for him as he released a lot of sadness which so many of our elder Vets still have.

    In addition, my younger Uncle served in the Navy during the 50’s. He never knew he had VA benefits; but he sure knew he had to pay the IRS! Maybe, if he had known and was able to have those benefits; they would have caught the cancer that he died from. As a submariner, I often wonder if the toxins on ship is what attributed to his cancer. One will never know.

    I listened to my elderly friend tell me the story of his battleship days–he was 88 and still had the effects of battle fatigue (PTSD). It’s interesting how you can see the “hidden” scars on each of my Veteran family members and friend; and yet they did not see or know about it.

    Yes, the attack on Pearl Habor was certainly a day of Infamy and it was a day, if the Hollywood version of WW 11 is right, when the Japanese Navy Commander said, “..I think we only just awakened a sleeping Giant!”

    I often wonder if we EVER learn anything from War…somewhere that old saying, “history will only repeat itself…” continues to roll around in my head especially when each casualty is announced from this “war”.

    I just recently watched a Hollywood version of WW 11; and it was still so overwhelming to see the carnage that took place in Pearl Harbor–such a hallowed place forever.

    To ALL VETERANS and their FAMILY Members, “Words are so inadequate to express….I can only say a simple thank you for your Service to your Country and to your brotherhood!”

    1. Alex Horton    

      Thanks for sharing Brenda, and for the service of your uncles.

      Are you still having trouble posting comments?

      1. brenda hayes    

        Yes, thanks for asking and thanks for that article on PH.

        Yes, I did have more trouble last evening. Message comes up Wrong captcha and no back button…message evaporated!

        I try to copy what comes up and put that in my “feedback” to you guys. It should help to fix. I just copy what I write before I “submit”. Quite frustrating.

        BH

        1. Alex Horton    

          Hopefully it’s not a problem on your end. I put in the wrong code on purpose and got the same message, but my comment was still there when I hit the back button. Still waiting to hear back from the IT guy on the error logs. I apologize for the frustration.

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