National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Memorializes Attack On Pearl Harbor

U.S.S. Arizona on fire, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – On National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Americans solemnly remember the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Just before 8 a.m., airplanes launched from the Empire of Japan’s aircraft carriers dropped bombs and torpedoes from the sky, attacking ships moored at the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory.

The bombing killed 2,335 American service members and 68 civilians. It completely destroyed the American battleship U.S.S. Arizona and capsized the U.S.S. Oklahoma.

The attack sank or beached a total of twelve ships and damaged nine others. 160 aircraft were destroyed and 150 others damaged. The attack took the country by surprise, especially the ill-prepared Pearl Harbor base.

Despite the shock of the attack, American service members at Pearl Harbor fought back with extraordinary courage and resilience.

Sprinting through a hailstorm of lead, pilots rushed to the few remaining planes and took to the skies to fend off the incoming Japanese attackers.

Soldiers on the ground fired nearly 300,000 rounds of ammunition and fearlessly rushed to the aid of their wounded brothers in arms.

Naval dispatch from the Commander in Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) announcing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
Naval dispatch from the Commander in Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) announcing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

In his address to the Congress the following day, broadcast to the nation over radio, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt  called December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy.”

Most Americans knew what the attack meant for the U.S. even before Roosevelt’s official announcement the next day. The U.S. would declare war on Japan.

“While nearly eight decades have passed since the last sounds of battle rang out over Pearl Harbor, we will never forget the immeasurable sacrifices these courageous men and women made so that we may live today in peace and prosperity,” U.S. President Donald Trump wrote in his Presidential Proclamation on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, 2019.

“On this day, we resolve forever to keep the memory of the heroes of Pearl Harbor alive as a testament to the tremendous sacrifices they made in defense of freedom and all that we hold dear.”