On Pearl Harbor Day, Americans remember those who laid down their lives on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. America will always be proud of the brave souls of the nation, who upheld the tradition of gallantry, honor and integrity on that day an throughout the course of World War II. The surprise attack that day on Pearl Harbor took more than 2,400 American lives. Each year we comm orate those who lost their lives on December 7, 1941, the Pearl Harbor Day.
The Tragic Day
At the crack of dawn on Sunday, December 7, 1941, naval aviation forces of the Empire of Japan launched an assault on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii bringing destruction and tragedy to the United States Pacific Fleet and other military targets.
The attack paralyzed the Pacific Fleet. The Airfields, port facilities, and warships in the Pacific were severely damaged and most being rendered incapacitated. Out of the nine Pacific Fleet battleships at Pearl harbor that day, Utah and Arizona were totally destroyed, the Oklahoma was salvaged but still deemed unusable. Along with the loss of two destroyers, one minelayer and 188 aircraft.
A converted sixteen-inch armor penetrating naval shell dropped from a high level horizontal bomber and landed on the battleship Arizona. The bomb exploded in one of Arizona’s aircraft catapult gunpowder magazines. It resulted in ignition of a fire in the main gun magazines where a stockpile of gunpowder was fatefully kept. The explosion caused the battleship Arizona to sink to the harbor’s bottom in a few brief minutes and taking with it the lives of 1100 crew members.
Reason For The Sudden Attack
The failure of U.S. political, diplomatic, and military establishments to recognize the capabilities of the Japanese military combined with the weaknesses in the United States’ own defense planning, proved fatal. Leading to Japan’s success at Pearl Harbor in decimating a major U.S Military port while sustaining only minor losses themselves.
The Japanese considered their attack a “pre-emptive strike” to prevent American interference in their attempted advance into the Dutch East Indies and Malaysia. However, instead of forcing Americans into submission, the attack on Pearl Harbor catapulted America into the war that would eventually bring ultimate devastation to the Land of the Rising Sun.
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day approved
The American Congress, by Public Law 103-308, approved through a law, commemorating December 7 as the “National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day” each year.
All Americans are encouraged to observe this monumental occasion with memorial activities and ceremonies. Also, Federal agencies, interested organizations, groups and individuals are to fly the flag of the United States at half-mast, in honor of those who died while doing their duty at Pearl Harbor.
The battleship Arizona has been specially preserved as a mark of remembrance for the crew and serves as a center of many events on Pearl Harbor day in Hawaii. The structure spans the ship’s hull, with Ford Island in the background. The memorial is accessible by boats from the naval base at Pearl Harbor.
Observing Pearl Harbor Day
The events of this day are memorialized by the illumination of a prewar aircraft beacon on the top of Mount Diablo, in the San Francisco Bay area. This light was refurbished in 1962 and is turned on only for the evening of December 7th each year. A few remaining military survivors of the attack gather with their family and friends to honor their fallen shipmates and comrades by playing “Taps” and lighting the beacon. The public is welcome at these events.
On Pearl Harbor Day, a whole nation salutes the courage of a generation of Americans who died on a day of infamy and showed bravery amidst one of the most sorrowful days ever to be written in the pages of American History.