“A Date That Will Live in Infamy”
Seventy years has passed since Roosevelt’s words were broadcast to the country regarding the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 that left the U.S. shocked and caught off guard.
Just after 8:00 am, airplanes from six different air craft carries struck the naval base in Hawaii, immediately crippling a large number of ships and aircraft within the vicinity. At this point in World War 2, the United States was not a primary stakeholder; however, all of that changed in the blink of an eye. The attack at Pearl Harbor “awoke a sleeping giant” rather than intimidate and scare the Americans into apathy. Within four short years, the Allies would eventually crush the German armies in Europe and pummel the Asian shores of Japan until victory was attained. The cost, however, was great…
Personally, World War 2 is a very dear subject to me, and I have spent a great deal of time reading and researching and studying the era. It always fascinates me how literally the entire world can be engaged in a such a devastating and large conflict. The effects have been far reaching, even to this day, and have prompted countless books and movies to be made about the event.
Here’s a list of my favorites:
- The Longest Day
- Great Escape
- Saving Private Ryan
- Band of Brothers
- Stephen Ambrose (wonderful war author)
I was given the privilege to tour the USS Arizona Memorial during a band tour in high school. To say that the memorial was somber does not do it justice. Looking up at the wall with the names of those who died really brings everything into perspective. These soldiers had families and siblings and parents, and now have found their resting place with their battleship. I still find it fascinating that the ship continues to leak oil, even after all these years… I strongly encourage you to read this article retelling the story of veteran from Pearl Harbor.
The USS Arizona was a massive battleship built in 1910 also known as a “super dreadnaught” or Pennsylvania-class, meaning it had two additional 14 inch guns and were faster. It originally left construction yards three days before the start of World War 1 and was quickly ushered into service as a gunnery training ship. It had a very colorful tour of duty before reaching Pearl Harbor in February of 1941. The attacks were devastating to the Navy, but the USS Arizona is unique. During the attack, its ammunition was truck by multiple bombs, tearing the ship apart and killing over 1100 sailors. More information can be found here.
The world has never been the same since that day in 1941. Often times I wonder what would have happened if the Japanese had not attacked the United States. Would we have entered the war? Would the Allies have won? What if the Japanese had struck further into our country such as California? It is very intriguing the path that events in our life seem to take.
It is strangely ironic that the 60th anniversary of Pearl Harbor occurred the same year as 9/11. I think there are very clear similarities that can be drawn between the two events. Both forever changed our country and the world, and both had lasting impacts on those directly and indirectly involved.