December 7, 1941. It was 7:50 a.m. on a Sunday morning. People in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, were either waking up or had already started their day. Sailors aboard their ships were busy already busy going about their assigned tasks for the day. Nobody could have imagined what would happen in the next five minutes. Suddenly, people looked skyward as the low hum of approaching Japanese aircraft engines grew increasing louder, catching their complete attention. Were they our planes? If so, what were they doing flying towards Pearl that early in the morning on a Sunday? The roar of the first explosion tossed several seamen into the harbor, rocking the American warships one by one as more Japanese pilots struck their targets. As chaos erupted, men quickly ran for cover. Those on land couldn’t believe what they were seeing. American pilots at the Ford Island Naval station rushed to their airplanes in a heroic attempt to fight the enemy. They knew who it was attacking us, but they didn’t have time to think. There was too much destruction going on. People who would have normally enjoyed their quiet Sunday morning were now dying or being burned by the numerous explosions. This sounds like a page from a novel, but sadly it all happened seventy-one years ago today. Yes, the Japanese caught us off guard. Yes, they sent thousands of men to their watery graves. Some were trapped in their ship without a chance of being rescued. Those that were rescued, would spend the next several months thinking about that devastating morning, laying on their beds, recovering in the hospital. Grateful for still being alive, but mournful for all of their friends who were not. It was a precise plan, carefully and deliberately executed by their pilots. The enemy struck fast and hard, hitting their targets time after time, until the last plane was either shot of the sky, or had left headed back to their ships for a victory celebration. A total of 2, 350 people died that morning, including 68 civilians and 1,177 from the USS Arizona. 1, 178 were injured. Of the 18 ships the enemy damaged, only 3 were destroyed beyond repair. The USS Arizona (forward magazine explosion), the USS Oklahoma (capsized), and the USS Utah (capsized). To the survivors of that tragic day I say thank you for your bravery! May we always remember those brave men who were simply trying to protect their beloved country during an unpleasant time called war.
Ship (color picture) below is the USS West Virginia 2nd picture (ship listing to the left) is the USS Arizona
The USS (United States Ship) Arizona became
a sunken memorial and has numerous visitors each year.
The first two pictures below are of the: USS Shaw