Sunday, December 6, 2009
Pearl Harbor Day
I interrupt our study of the United States Constitution to remind all of us about the day that Pearl Harbor was attacked. Pearl Harbor is located off the coast of Oahu Island and lies west of downtown Honolulu. The naval base there covers 22,000 acres. The harbor itself "is one of the world's largest and best sheltered naval anchorages. It is formed by two mouths of the Pearl Stream. The harbor occupies about 10 square miles of navigable water and has three lochs (nearly landlocked lakes). Its name came from the pearl oysters that once grew in its waters" (W. W. Reid, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 15, p 219). Japanese forces attacked the United States Pacific Fleet at anchor in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, with the first bombs falling about 7:55 a.m. The main targets of the attack were the eight American battleships that were anchored among 92 naval vessels. The United States suffered great loss: approximately 3,700 casualties, 18 ships sunk or severely damaged, and nearly 200 airplanes lost. Just as the cry of "Remember the Alamo" inspired Texans in the battle for freedom from Mexico, "Remember Pearl Harbor" became the rallying cry for World War II. The United States, Canada, and Great Britain declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941. Germany and Italy declared war on the United States on December 11. World War II was then a global conflict. I have visited the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, which stands above the partly submerged battleship. The memorial honors those who died in the surprise attack on December 7, 1941. It is a beautiful monument and wonderful memorial. For video about the attack on Pearl Harbor, you can go here or here or here.