Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Day That Will Live In Infamy

Until the late 1800s, Pearl Harbor on Oahu in Hawaii was known mostly for its pearl producing oysters. Today marks the 67th anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan on December 7, 1941. At 7:55 AM, the first wave of 183 planes struck in a sneak attack that took the United States Navy completely by surprise. A second wave of 180 mostly torpedo bombers struck at 8:30 AM. When the smoke had cleared, 2,350 people were killed. Of that total, 1,177 were on the battleship Arizona, which was hit with an armor piercing bomb that detonated the ship's ammunition hold. It sunk within minutes. All told, 9 ships were sunk and 21 severely damaged, 3 beyond repair. The course of world history was forever altered and the United States entered World War II.

My dad was 15 when the attack occurred. He joined the Navy on his 17th birthday and served in the Marshall and Solomon Islands. Thanks to him and the millions of other guys like him who answered the call, for all of us, then and now.

The photograph is from American military archives, and was captured at the end of the war. It shows Japanese Navy bombers lined up and ready to takeoff on their first bombing run to Pearl Harbor. The ship in the background is the carrier Soryu.

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