In the early morning of December 7, 1941, a tragedy occurred for America’s history.1 Japanese aircrafts, battleships, and many other military forces attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii as an attempt to keep the United States from meddling in an attack the Japanese planned against the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States itself.2 Little did the Japanese know at the time that this event would start an enormous chain reaction? The attack on Pearl Harbor will not be something Americans forget; moreover, the event will forever be held close to our hearts. On January 27, 1941 The United States’ ambassador to Japan conversed to Washington that the Japanese devised a plan to attack on Pearl Harbor, but to no avail since no one took him seriously.3 Only ten months after that, Admiral Kimmel and General Short received a warning that the Japanese would strike the Pacific. Shortly over a week later, tragedy struck, not only for Hawaii, but also for America as a country, at approximately 7:55 A.M. on December 7, 1941.4 Just like any other usual Sunday, people casually went about their business and routines.
Eyewitness Hubert ‘Dale’ Gano claimed to still be in bed when the attack happened.5 He and his wife jumped out of bed and ran outside to the sound of large, loud explosions.6 Gano knows much information on airplanes and could tell just by using his naked eye that they were that of Japanese.7 While having breakfast in the wardroom, Lieutenant Commander S. G. Fuqua suddenly became startled by the ship’s air raid alarm.8 He sprang into action by calling the Officer-of-the-Deck to tell him to alert the others. He then ran onto the ship’s deck and discovered mass chaos. Japanese aircrafts filled the morning sky, but the sudden impact of a bomb left Lieutenant Commander S. G. Fuqua unconscious on the ship’s deck.9 When he ultimately regained consciousness, flames completely engulfed the ship.10 He ordered everyone to evacuate the forlorn ship as quickly as possible, and everyone got off safely and quickly.11 Only they did not know that this would only be the beginning battle to a long, strenuous war. The Japanese organized the attack into two different “waves” of aircrafts, and then even further by sectioning off each wave into sections of separate attack weapons, all with specific targets.12 The first group consisted of aircrafts equipped with bombs and torpedoes.13 The second group compiled of general-purpose bombs, while the third group contained fighter jets allowing air control and for attacking randomly.14 The first wave attacked and proved that the Japanese’s war method of using the element of surprise worked quite well.
This, obviously, alarmed the Americans quickly. Unprepared, terrified, yet ready to fight for their country. As the Japanese edged closer to United States’ territory, fairly new Army radar started to give warnings.15 The operators of the radar informed their lieutenant of the warning, but he did not think too much of it because a secretive, but expected order of six B-17 bomber airplanes was to be arriving that morning.16 The Japanese also did not hesitate to take any aircraft out while on the way to attack at Pearl Harbor.17 An U.S. aircraft operator at least tried to radio in a warning, but no one could understand the message.18 An astonishing one hundred fifty-two Japanese aircraft struck Pearl Harbor with torpedoes, bombs, and really anything to initiate the Japanese’s “power” or control.19 They started by attacking the largest and most powerful ships first, trying their best to take them out as quickly as possible so they could not fight back.20 The Japanese utterly stunned the Americans with their random attack, but America handled the situation efficiently by getting as prepared as possible for defending themselves in any way they could. The first wave succeeded what they came to do, but then the second wave struck. These three groups did not have as much of heavy-duty weapons, per say, as the first three groups did. The objective of the second wave remained clear: to attack Kāneʻohe, and finish off Pearl Harbor.
21 Only an hour and a half after the attack started, it ended.
22 Many Americans either died or suffered from the awful assault, and some families still carry that guilt around with them with a heavy heart. There is no doubt that Pearl Harbor will always be one of the most devastating tragedies to, so far, occur in American history. In just one hour and thirty minutes, the Japanese managed to single handedly take two thousand four hundred innocent lives, wound over one thousand people, and destroy or severely mutilate over three hundred aircrafts and eighteen heavy duty, military ships.
23 This catastrophe saddened the people of not only Hawaii, but all over the country and even the world, but it also infuriated the people and fueled a fire. Franklin D. Roosevelt, being the current president of the United States at the time, immediately took action and wanted to declare war on Japan.
24 He prepared all forces for active service while he and advisors devised a military plan against their attackers.
25 After a vote of three hundred eighty-eight to one in the House and eighty-eight to zero in the Senate, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress officially declared war on Japan the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor: December 8, 1941.
26 As a result of this decision, the United States joined World War II: which, earlier, they remained “Team Switzerland.”
27 America’s ally Great Britain also joined the war against Japan.
28 An agreement made before the war called the Tripartite Pact, an arrangement between Japan, Italy, and Germany to keep the United States from intervening in any conflicts that would arise between the three nations, forced Italy and Germany to likewise declare war on America.
29 The conflict stood ultimately settled when World War II ended in 1945 and America came out victorious.
30 When the words “Pearl Harbor” are said, a sense of sadness washes over me. Thousands of innocent lives were taken while defending our country. Even civilians got caught in the mass of things and cost them their lives. Although Pearl Harbor symbolizes a time of war and violence in our history, it could also be looked upon as a representation of America’s unity. Brave men, and women, fight for our freedom each and every day, and that is exactly what the fighters of Pearl Harbor did. Monuments, statues, and countless more remembrance articles stand all across America. National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is on December 7 every year in honor of those who fought at Pearl Harbor, or lost their life.
31 Even though it remains long gone, it will forever be held close and dear in our memory, and our hearts.
Archives. “Pearl harbor Articles & Newspapers,” http://www.archives.com/genealogy/newspaper-genealogy-pearl-harbor.html. BBC News On This Day. “1941: Japanese planes bomb Pearl Harbor,” http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/december/7/newsid_3494000/34