Back in Time: Remembering Pearl Harbor

76 years ago on December 7th, Pearl Harbor came under attack. Photo Courtesy Wikimedia.

Peyton Powell

Staff Writer

It was the early morning hours of December 7 th , 1941, when the unthinkable happened in
Hawaii, causing more than 2,335 to lose their life. On this day, we remember Pearl Harbor, 76 years
after that fateful day, and we remember and honor those who lost their life.

At the time of the attack, the United States wasn’t formally involved in World War 2, but they
started to gain a rivalry with Japan over the many things that they have done to each other during the
years prior. Japan was to officially declare war on the United States, and tell them that the peace
agreements are no longer, before the attack on Pearl Harbor, but they attacked before anything could
be said.

December 7th , 1941, Japan was on the verge of declaring war on the United States, and men
aboard several battleships, ships, and submarines woke to the sound of bombs, torpedoes, and gunfire.
At 7:48 am, the Japanese sent their first wave of the attack, which consisted of 183 planes, whose
targets ranged from Battleships, to Ford Island. The incoming fleet of Japanese planes were detached on
radar, but since the post where the warning came in at was not fully operational, the commanders in
charge failed to reply fully of what they saw, since they thought it was incoming US aircraft from
California.

It would prove to be too late, since the Japanese surprised ships with torpedo hits before the
aircrafts even arrived, which left the ships that were already hit extremely vulnerable for further attacks
by air. A few of the bombs launched from the aircrafts either missed their target, exploded in air, or was
a dud, and also of the forty torpedoes launched, only seventeen made impact.

The second wave of attacks came minutes later, and some of the targets included Hickam field,
Kaneohe, and Barber’s Point. This wave however was different from the first because this one was split
into different sections, but each section arrived and attacked at the same time, from multiple different
directions.

The attack on Pearl Harbor lasted 90 minutes total, with the casualties standing at 2,403, and
the wounded at 1,178. Of those who perished on this day, 2,008 were sailors, 218 soldiers and airmen,
109 marines, and 68 civilians. In total, 18 ships were sunk, 5 of which were battleships, including the
Arizona which produced the most casualties of all after being hit with four armor-piercing bombs. Even
though most of the damage was sustain by ships, out of the 402 United States aircraft, 188 were
destroyed, and 159 were heavily damaged.

There was talk about a possible third wave from happening, but the Japanese decided against it
after seeing the United States Anti-Aircraft performance improve during the second wave, and since
Japan lost about 2/3 of there resources also during the second wave. If the third wave were to have
occurred, the later commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, said that “serious
operations in the Pacific would have been postponed for more than a year,” and tat “it would have
prolonged the war another two years.”

A day after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called for a formal
declaration of war on the Empire of China. Germany and Italy then declared war on the United States, as of December 11th .

In the years following the attacks, many movies were maid out of the historical event, and a
memorial built over top of the Arizona, glass floors to look down on to the sunken ship, to honor that
day in History.

So, tomorrow, on December 7th , exactly 76 years ago to this day we remember the people who lost
their lives, and the great acts of war that were brought upon the people of Pearl Harbor. “No matter
how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their
righteous might will win through to absolute victory.” -FDR