Remember Pearl Harbor

Today marks the 74th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. At 7:48 a.m. on December 7, 1941; the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack on the US Naval Base of Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The attack was launched in two waves and was over by 9:55 a.m. The attack came as a shock as the US was at peace with Japan and, at Japan’s request, was in negotiations for peace in the Pacific.

The attack was devastating to our Naval fleet. In total, 188 planes and nine other vessels were destroyed. All eight US Navy battleships were damaged, and four were sunk. All ships but one were able to be raised, the USS Arizona was lost after an air bomb struck into the forward magazine causing massive catastrophic explosions. 1,102 service men aboard the Arizona were loss and remain entombed inside the sunken wreckage. The loss of the Arizona has been noted as the greatest loss of US life ever on an attack on a warship. The main targets of the attack, the U.S. Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers; Lexington, Enterprise and Saratoga, escaped damage as they were not in the port. Thankfully, the base fuel tanks and submarines also escaped damage. The complete casualty list included 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians deceased, with 1,178 wounded.

Just one day later on December 8, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke these words in addressing congress about the attacks on Pearl Harbor; “Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” In his speech, President Roosevelt asked congress to declare war on the Japanese empire. This direct attack was the United States entry into World War II.

The USS Arizona Memorial was dedicated on May 20, 1962. The Memorial is erected over the ships submerged hull. The Memorial is only accessible by boat, with a visitor’s center and museum located on the island. The Memorial is visited by an estimated 2 million visitors annually. If you are ever in Hawaii and have the opportunity to visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, it is highly recommended.

On this day, we would like to honor those who lost their lives in Pearl Harbor defending our country. Sign-Express is thankful for the men and women who serve in our military.