December 7, 1941. It was a day that changed the course of history and left a lasting impact on the world forever. On that fateful day, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which left over 2,400 Americans dead and another 1,000 injured. It was one of the most devastating attacks in US history, and it marked the beginning of the United States’ involvement in World War II. Today, we remember and honor the bravery and sacrifice of those who lost their lives on that day. Every year, on the anniversary of the attack, people around the world pause to reflect on the events of Pearl Harbor and pay tribute to those who lost their lives. It is a day to remember the courage and patriotism of those who served and died, and to keep their memory alive.
Overview of the Attack on Pearl Harbor
The Attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on December 7, 1941, when Japanese military aircraft, launched from aircraft carriers, bombed the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The sneak attack, which took place while the United States was still technically neutral in World War II, killed more than 2,300 people, destroyed more than 20 American warships, and put the United States on a path to war. The Japanese had hoped that the attack would cripple the U.S. Pacific fleet, allowing Japan to expand into Southeast Asia without opposition. The plan succeeded beyond the Japanese government’s wildest expectations — but not in the way they had hoped. The devastation at Pearl Harbor marked a turning point in American public opinion. Until that point, the vast majority of Americans had hoped to remain neutral in the growing global conflict. The attack transformed that sentiment, putting public opinion on a path toward open and total war.
The Impact of the Attack on the US
In the days and weeks following the attack, public opinion in the United States quickly turned against the Japanese. Although some in the government had hoped to negotiate with the Japanese, a majority felt that the attack on Pearl Harbor demanded a response. Additionally, the attack gave American Roosevelt the support he needed to expand the war on a global scale. The attack on Pearl Harbor also had a huge impact on American military strategy. The “Day of Infamy” led the United States to build a massive fleet of aircraft carriers to guard against future attacks. The American military also put a greater emphasis on intelligence and code-breaking. This helped American forces win the Battle of Midway, a decisive victory that turned the tide of the war in the Pacific.
Remembering Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor has been remembered and honored in a variety of ways over the years. The USS Arizona Memorial, which was built on the sunken remains of the USS Arizona, was dedicated in 1962 on the 30th anniversary of the attack. Every year, thousands of people visit the memorial to pay their respects and remember those who lost their lives. The National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is also observed every year on December 7. Every president since Franklin Roosevelt has issued an official Pearl Harbor remembrance statement on December 7. There have also been a number of television specials, documentaries, and books written about the attack. Pearl Harbor is often featured in film and television, including the 2001 film directed by Michael Bay and the 2001 film directed by Stephen Spielberg.
The Legacy of Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was one of the most defining moments in American history, and it has left a lasting legacy. The attack marked the beginning of the United States’ involvement in World War II, and it changed the course of history. It also led to a series of events that transformed the nation and its place in the world. Pearl Harbor also left an indelible mark on those who experienced it firsthand. For many veterans from World War II, the attack is an unforgettable moment, one that is deeply personal and has had a lasting impact on their lives.
Commemorations and Events
- National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day - This is observed every year on December 7. Many groups and organizations hold special events and ceremonies to honor those who lost their lives in the attack. - The National Memorial of the Pacific - This is a large-scale outdoor museum and research center that opened in 2003. It is dedicated to the history of the Pacific Theater of World War II, including the attack on Pearl Harbor. - The USS Arizona Memorial - This is a memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is located on the sunken remains of the USS Arizona, which was destroyed during the attack.
Ways to Show Respect and Honor
- Visit the USS Arizona Memorial and pay your respects to those who lost their lives in the attack. The memorial is open to the public, and it is a powerful way to remember those who gave their lives during the attack.
- Support veterans and organizations that preserve the history of World War II. This will ensure that events, like the attack on Pearl Harbor, are remembered and honored for years to come.
- Remember those who lost their lives by living with courage and conviction. Remember that freedom comes at a cost, and that those who served during World War II were ready and willing to make that sacrifice.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a defining moment in American history, and it has left a lasting and profound impact on the course of world history. The attack was a surprise move by the Japanese military, which killed more than 2,300 people and destroyed more than 20 American warships. It is a day that should not be forgotten, and it is important to reflect on the events of Pearl Harbor and pay tribute to those who lost their lives.