Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola on Thursday called the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, a “tragedy,” that “struck our nation’s shores.”
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is observed every Dec. 7, as Pearl Harbor survivors, veterans, and others the world over remember the 2,403 service members and civilians who were killed, and 1,178 people injured during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
The attack by Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service sank the USS Arizona and the USS Utah and destroyed 188 aircraft. Not long after the attack on Hawaii, the Japanese would attack Alaska and occupy Kiska and Attu in the Aleutians.
“Just before 8 am on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, many of the sailors aboard naval vessels moored in Pearl Harbor were getting ready for leave and preparing for church services. In a few minutes, the colors would be raised on more than 185 naval vessels throughout the harbor. On Ford Island and around O’ahu, soldiers, Marines, and sailors at Army and Marine airfields and naval air stations were going through similar military routines,” reads the account from the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.
“The attack came with no warning, as aircraft emblazoned with red disks bore down on the moored ships from all directions. Torpedo planes struck first, flying low over the water and launching torpedoes toward Ford Island’s Battleship Row, the primary target. They struck West Virginia, Oklahoma, California, and Nevada, along with vessels berthed in the navy yard. Dive-bombers destroyed hangers and other buildings and parked aircraft at Hickam Field and on Ford Island. Bombs dropped from aircraft high above the harbor tore through Arizona and other battleships. Fighter planes wheeled and dived, strafing aircraft and military personnel.”
It was that day, which President Roosevelt said would “live in infamy,” that the United States joined allies to battle fascists and Nazis who were spreading their hate and oppression across the world.
The wreckage of the USS Arizona is now a national monument and memorial to those who sacrificed their lives to liberate the oppressed and preserve freedom for people they would never meet.
Visit the website for the 2023 Pearl Harbor Remembrance observances in Pearl Harbor, where you can watch video from the memorial service.