Pearl Harbor: 75 Years Later
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75 years have passed since the “date that will live in infamy,” as famously declared by former president Franklin D. Roosevelt. The attack marked US entry into World War II.
The attack on Pearl Harbor is the most catastrophic foreign undertaking ever to hit US soil. 90 minutes was all it took to kill upwards of 2,400 people, sink 18 ships, and ravage the future 50th US state of Hawaii. Various bases were also attacked, including Kaneohe and Schofield. Of the 402 American aircraft present in Hawaii, 188 were destroyed and another 159 damaged. Citizens around at the time of the attack report that the Japanese flew at such a low altitude that their faces were clearly visible. Of the 414 Japanese aircraft, 29 were destroyed.
After the attack, work on salvaging the ships began immediately. Plenty of work hours, 20,000 in fact, were spent under water. In total, 132 medals were awarded to the men in service at the time of the attack.
Britain proceeded to join the US in the war nine hours after US declaration. On the axis-side, Japan resumed their attack on the Philippines. Internment camps were set up on Hawaii where Japanese and Japanese-Americans alike were held. Two decades and after the attack, the USS Arizona Memorial was constructed over the hull of its namesake. The memorial is accessible via a short ride aboard a passenger boat. Listed, on a large plaque fitted to a granite wall inside of the memorial, are the names of every victim of the attack. To this day, oil from the USS Arizona continues to spew into the harbor.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor will forever be a symbolic yet tragic moment in US history. Its legacy will be forever rooted into the minds of Americans and American history alike.
December 7, 1941-December 7, 2016