Pearl Harbor Day Still Lives In Infamy

12.07.09 |

On a quiet Sunday morning 68 years ago, the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii was devastated by a surprise blitz by Japanese warplanes. When it was over, more than 23 hundred Americans were dead, and another eleven-hundred were wounded. The USS Arizona was destroyed, and three other ships were sunk. Many other vessels were damaged, and more than 180 aircraft were destroyed. The U.S. was caught off guard by the attack, enraging a nation that had remained on the outside as World War Two spread throughout much of the world. It stood as the most deadly attack on the U.S. at home or abroad until the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001.

 One day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress and declared December 7th, 1941, as "a day which will live in infamy." Congress immediately declared war on Japan, and within days Japan's allies, Germany and Italy, declared war on the United States. The nation then began a rapid transition to a wartime economy, building up arms stockpiles for military campaigns to come in the Pacific, Europe and North Africa.

 Roosevelt's words have held true, and December 7th is still remembered as a dark day in the nation's history. Gatherings at the site and elsewhere around the nation remember the events of the fateful day. A moment of silence is marked at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, when the morning calm was shattered by the first in a torrent of Japanese bombs and torpedoes.