Disrespect: Peltola calls Pearl Harbor attack a ‘tragedy’ that ‘struck our nation’s shores’

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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.

64 COMMENTS

  1. Soooo….where’s the disrespectful part? I mean, I get it, you really don’t like Mary Peltola, but calling her comments disrespectful seems a bit of a stretch.

    It would be fantastic if you’d update your article to tell us all the proper way to memorialize Pearl Harbor Day.

    • BillNorthman, I’m trying to figure out how old you are, because many of us in the Boomer Generation have a connection to Pearl Harbor. You see, we grew up listening to our Uncles who fought in the South Pacific talk about some of their experiences.
      My Grandfather, a Mining Engineer in the Philippines and his family escaped just weeks before the Japanese savaged that beautiful country and its people. Many of my Mothers friends perished in the Concentration Camps, starved and overcome by disease. Their Phillipino friends had even worse treatment.

      Given the above, I hope you can understand why so many of us believe that December 7th is a day to remember. It is a day that reminds us that evil exists in this world, but so too does heroism and the love of what is good.
      I think the real tragedy would be forgetting that perspective.

      • Agreed Mr. Schenker. I have to wonder the age of some of these commenters. I’m a Gen Xer but actually learned American History partly in school but more on my own. It just seems that these younger people just don’t get the fact that it is a mean, dirty world we actually live in. Way too many folks haven’t had their nose broken in anger and they “FEEEL” that even “bad folks” just need to have us walk in their shoes and understand why we needed to be attacked. Whether Pearl, 9/11, Beruit Barracks, USS Cole, etc

      • I absolutely grew up with WWII stories and I know the events of the Pearl Harbor attack well. I have attended several remembrances at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th. I also served a long career in the US military.

        I just fail to see how Peltola’s comment was in any way disrespectful. I know MRAK absolutely hates Peltola (I’m not a fan either) and will look for every opportunity to paint Peltola in a negative light. I simply wanted to point out that it really seemed like MRAK was really stretching things to make Peltola the bad guy on this.

        • You are wrong.
          MRAK and many of the reader do NOT hate Mary Peltola. There is a great difference between emotional/irrational hate and factual disagreement. Many of the items Mary votes for or says are objectionable in my opinion and do not further or support the state and Alaskans. That being said, she is our representative (not senator Anonymous!!!) and I respect that she has her own opinions and values. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with her. If you define ANY dissent as “hate” we no longer have a place to debate.
          I find this comment objectionable, because it appears to be a careless throw-away comment on this historic day, that cost so many Americans and Alaskans their lives and changed the course of history. Words have meaning!

    • Stretch your imagination, Avenger: there’s got to be something here that will make your blood boil! I’m scratching my head, but I’ll eventually find something that just aggravates the hell out of me!

  2. It was disrespectful because Peltola tweeted it and because MRAK is so frothing at the mouth biased.

    Had Trump tweeted the same thing it would be compared to the Gettysburg Address or Eisenhower‘s speech to the troops before D-Day.

    Must be a slow news day for SD.

  3. Well. That’s because of Peltola she is guilty as any other Alaskan who doesn’t know the difference between Attack and Assault to tragedy. Just as any Alaskan she displaying how her momma and daddy didn’t read enough to her as a girl. If one is an Alaska Leader among its leadership crowd then our leaders have No excuse good enough not to be reading more and increasing their vocabulary and Understanding how to use words especially if they attended and graduated college. At face value I Don’t see the difference between using tragedy and attack. However I have read more than how much was expected of me considering my early start, my ninth grade education, my no college except an AVI course, abc I can see there is a difference when using Attack and Tragedy if you stare at it critically stretching your mind to use critical thinking skills.

    Parents including grandparents if they want to do anything good for their children under 17 they will Read aloud more books to their child and grandchild. There is a quote I seen “reading books to your child builds in them new software.” Well written children’s literature builds a child into a better thinker, better listener, and better more self controlled talker.

  4. It was an Attack. The tragedy part is how many lives were lost that day at Pearl Harbor; while Japan’s tragedy was how many of their people died because of the consequence following their commanders decision to attack America.

  5. Oh c’mon…. It seems Ms Downing is really putting in the work on this one.

    Disrespectful? Maybe the headline of this article, but definitely not lady senators comment.

    • I wholeheartedly disagree.
      The sinking of the Titanic was a tragedy and an avoidable one at that. The sinking of the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma and so many others of the US fleet was a deliberated, calculated, premeditated act of war with the sole purpose of leaving our nation defenseless.
      Calling it a tragedy demeans the sacrifice our service members made that day and denies our the right to defend ourselves.

        • Ah sorry Wayne, but you are incorrect.
          When a nation state attacks another using its standing force, it is an act of war. You also seem to forget that the Japanese ambassador delivered said declaration of war 2 hours after the attack had commenced. Ironically it was supposed to arrive 30 minutes before the attack, but the lengthy document took too long to decode.
          Terrorism by definition is the use of violence or the threat of violence, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political goals. It is generally perpetrated by non-governmental actors, who seek to destroy an existing political power structure.

        • I don’t agree with you, Wayne Coogan, that Japan is one of the most xenophobic and racist on the planet. They are a very, very small island nation. There is clearly a finite limit to the amount of resources on those islands, and they are not in the endless land-grab (at this point), either. At best, the description is ‘practical, self-sustainable, and pragmatic’.

      • There is a great definition right there. There is the difference between Attack and Tragedy. Short and precise.

  6. Throughout history there are few historical analogs that can compare to the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Tet Offensive is one, 9-11 is analogous in some regards, interestingly enough sneak attacks have happened disproportionately to one nation on earth who has seen repeated sneak attacks, Israel. Prior to the October 7th attacks by Hamas there was the Yom Kippur War when Egypt, Syria, and other Arabian states launched a suprise attack on Israel.

    Going to the USS Arizona Memorial was one of the most remarkable moments in my life, seeing droplets of oil rising to the surface of the water from the wreckage below where Americans remain entombed was symbolic of the blood that has been shed for generations to afford the freedoms we cherish. Not long after visiting the USS Arizona Memorial I stood on the grounds of the Reichsparteitagsgelände in Nuremberg Germany and the Zeppelinfeld Grandstand where Hitler held Nazi rallies, then there are the numerous Nazi death camps throughout Europe, and the Anne Frank House are all life changing historical monuments. The modern progressive movement that wants to downplay the historical record does so for one reason and one reason only, in hopes that history will repeat itself.

  7. I don’t know, sweetie.

    When our country is hijacked by a scumbag Cadillac communist who then provokes a war with Japan – and we get a war with Japan…..is it *really* a tragedy?

    By 1941, Japan had been fighting in China for nearly 10 years and they weren’t just going to ‘give Manchuria back’. Democrats knew exactly what they were doing. Peltola saying this crap is like Obama being forced to wear an American flag lapel pin by his campaign advisors.

    • Apu , good points.

      Roosevelt knew the attack was coming and it’s documented his military heads had warned him.

      It’s said he needed a direct attack to get American support for another “great” war.
      At any rate our military should have been more prepared to defend themselves.

      Its also worth recognizing the attack as leading to another horrific “tragedy”/ action.

      The nuclear bombs being used on Japan’s civilian population. A disgusting act .

      • Once the Japanese attacked, the die was cast and USA was going to see the affair through.
        I wish Japan hadn’t done it.

        But we can’t pretend that the Japanese just ‘woke up on the wrong side of the bed’ and attacked a much larger and more powerful country while they were already fighting the Chinese. FDR was an evil man that manipulated us into war. Roosevelt seized Japanese assets and cut off their access to petroleum during the summer of 1941. Why? Because Nazi Germany was absolutely wrecking the Soviet Communists at this point and FDR was desperate to bring the USA into the war to rescue his ‘fellow travelers’ before they collapsed.

        Nukes?
        Oppenheimer was an interesting film. It certainly didn’t shy away from the fact that as a Jewish scientist he was quite eager to develop and deploy nuclear weapons against German civilians, then developed moral objections when Truman ended up using them against the Japanese. He became downright hostile/uncooperative when Cold War weaponry was later pointed at Communists, leading him to be replaced by Edward Teller, a brilliant Hungarian that had just watched his homeland get swallowed up by the Communist Warsaw Pact.

  8. Is it not an exaggeration to say the attack on Pearl Harbor was an attack “on our nation’s shores?” At the time Hawaii was an annexed territory much the same as Alaska. After the Pearl Harbor attack civilian law was replaced with marshall law, hardly a constitutional move for “our nation’s shores.” After Pearl Harbor the Japanese attacked Dutch Harbor, Attu and Kiska, occupying the latter two. Many Americans were killed protecting those territories. Nevertheless, there was no outrage then or now about a foreign power attacking and occupying American territory (ie, our nation’s shores). Presently, Guam, American Samoa, Guam, the Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands are in similar status as was Hawaii in 1941. Save for perhaps Puerto Rico, I doubt the United States could muster the same outrage as happened with the Pearl Harbor attack if one of the current territories were attacked. The honorable Representative Peltola should understand the history and context before making remarks about historical facts.

  9. Pretty big snowflake if you think that’s disrespectful, but whatever to disparage your fellow citizen if it helps your ideology. Pathetic

  10. Without directly speaking for the author, I think the point is that Peltola doesn’t know the difference between a tragedy v. an intentional act of war.
    .
    Tragedy = sinking of the Titanic.
    Intentional Act = 9/11 terrorism plane hijackings.
    .
    Somehow, Peltola chooses her sympathies based on race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, all the politically correct reasons. ie., Peltola is a brainwashed Democrat who views reality through the myopic scope of a fearful little lemming, ready to fall because she’s been told.

      • Wayne you need to work on your definitions:

        act of war
        (4) the term “act of war” means any act occurring in the course of—
        (A) declared war;
        (B) armed conflict, whether or not war has been declared, between two or more nations; or
        (C) armed conflict between military forces of any origin;
        Source

        18 USC § 2331(4)

  11. Have we forgotten that Dutch Harbor was attacked and occupied by Japanese forces June 7, 1941.
    Believe we have.

  12. What Peltola did was to minimize the history of what happened at Pearl Harbor. Japan launched a sneak attack and then declared war. Cowardly, despicable and unforgivable.

    The dictionary defines tragedy: “an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe.”

    This was not a natural disaster or accident.

    Of course we know Peltola is a low IQ fukwit. She doesn’t know our history, and sides with those who literally hate our country. Two very recent house votes demonstrate this. A recent funding bill would have put serious resources at fixing the open borders Biden has allowed- where we have tens of thousands of unvetted economic migrant invade our country daily. Peltola voted “No”- because she sides with the enemy. Peltola also vote against a censure of a black democrat house member who pulled a fire alarm to disrupt a vote- a criminal act. Peltola is the enemy.

    • It was the NYC version leaving out Funter Bay travesties and Aleut POWs; but to be clear what does NYC or Bethel know about the Aleutians and their particular maritime history per se and why exactly would it penetrate their boredoms today or yesterday?

    • Your disrespect of Ms Peltola was uncalled for you. Any amount of blabbering on your part is not justifiable. She, at least, mentioned that particular day as a historical one, and as one to admonish folks to think about the unforeseen sacrifices that those in the military make.

      If for no other reason, my recollection it was the day nearly fifty years ago when some high school kid blew up the dynamite shack down at the Birchwood Methodist Camp crossing, and busted out the windows of homes in close proximity to the explosion. Other safety measures have been in force since then.

        • Hello A.G. I’m not quite sure how it seems that I’m dissing your comments. Seeing how my husband’s uncle died in the Aleutians, it’s surely not my place to disparage your opinion on this topic. (It seems we were caught up in this out-of-sequence commentary once before, on some other topic. I’ll apologize for that time, too!)

  13. But it all turned out good in the end. We knew that by stopping Japan’s expansion, it would lead to war. Churchill had been prodding us to war. He even withheld information of the assuming attack. We fired the first shots by sinking a Japanese mini sub outside of pearl harbor. Put one right through the conning tower. Boynton had been helping the Chinese by then. A tragedy for the day and years to follow, but it helped America and the Japanese in the end. Petunia is just politicking.

  14. It was not a tragedy. It was a unprovoked attack PERIOD. I had an uncle who joined the Marines after it happened, fought and killed japs. And ended up walking a thing called The Bataan Death March (look it up if you went to public school) survived and came back to become a successful public figure in South Texas. Actually has a couple of schools named after him in Laredo.

    • It’s just a “someone did something” moment. Empathy for the Empire of Japan per Hillary? Did the USA not treat Japan with the appropriate respect within the intersectional community. Yes it was a tragedy …but that is rather watered down considering the millions that died at the hands of the Japanese…. before and during WWII. Rape of Nanking? Was that rape or rape rape? Asking for Oct-7 victims.

      The Japanese loved complex plans especially in regards to sea warfare. They never got away from that to our good fortune. The attack on Pearl Harbor was supposed to be after the declaration of war was issued. Yamamoto reminded those that even a samurai will awaken his sleeping enemy before killing him in his bed

      Pearl Harbor…..9-11… ho hum all just a tragedy.

    • Thank you to you and your family for his service. And thank you for being willing to stand up for what he did. Peltola doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together regarding history. I doubt many other subjects regarding Alaska either regardless of what she claims.

  15. For those of you seeking to understand the element of disrespect cited by Ms Downing, let me explain. The Oxford definition of tragedy is: “an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe.” The word “crime” is included only subsidiarily in the definition. However, the event can only be described as “the most heinous, despicable, and cowardly, international crime ever perpetrated against the United States to that date.” Prior to that event, other such acts only followed formal declarations of war. Describing the “day that will live in infamy” as merely a tragedy shows either disrespect or stupidity. Take your choice.

    • I really think the people who are finding this whole thing to be disrespectful are just grasping at straws to justify every negative thought they have about Peltola, and making themselves seem petty and foolish for their efforts. Would have been better to focus on Peltola’s actual misdeeds than to raise the pitchforks over this. But hey, haters gonna hate!

  16. Tragedy can be used in a broad set of specific circumstances.

    A tragedy can be an attack, accident or disaster.
    It just needs to be one where someone suffers. Usually drama of some form is involved. The attack on Pearl Harbor was a tragedy in the highest sense of the word.
    Absolute national suffering and shock .
    It was clear tragedy .

    The word tragedy starts with the greeks telling of their history and their gods and heroes suffering.

    I am not a fan of pertola but claiming that her statement was disrespectful is a pure misunderstanding.
    Let’s keep it real and factual as possible .
    It’s important to try and understand what is being said and where it comes from.
    Many many natives were directly involved in the defense of Alaska during world war 2 .
    In bethel their efforts are still remembered and honored.
    Pertola was trying to recognize their efforts and honor them.

    Remember- how honor our enemies says a lot about us .

    Pertola may represent the political ideals we detest but she is a human, a mother and a grieving widow .
    She just wanted to honor those who died in that horrific act and those who fought for our country.

  17. So many of the comments in this thread are two groups engaging in the weirdest exercise of faux outrage.

    Reminds me of when my kids were toddlers.

  18. I am as repulsed as anyone by our unofficial member of the “Hamas Squad.” But I fail to see anything disrespectful with Peltola’s statement. What are we missing, Suzanne?

    • Thank you for your question. Tragedy is generally unavoidable, accidental, or a combination of disasters and responses to disasters. Think of the tsunami in Fukushima, Japan, and the resulting tragedies involving the nuclear reactor, or a fire that burns down Lahaina, Maui. Tragedy is also personal and can be a result of an intentional or mistaken act (think car crash). A mass shooting is not “a tragedy,” but a violent act. A premeditated attack on our nation is of an even greater magnitude and calling it a “tragedy” is a way of softening the blame and what the attack really meant for the generations that came before us and died either in the attack or in the war that ensued. Appreciate the questions. But our congressional representative should know the difference. -sd

      • Yes, but we have had a very good relationship w/ our important ally, Japan, since the war and “softening” the blame may be a diplomatic thing to do. I,m sure the Japanese (like the Germans) today are not proud of what they did to start WW2. They lost many lives in Japan, military & civilian, so they are very aware of how horrific their mistake was for everyone in that war.

      • Suzanne , im having a hard time finding information to support your narrow definition of tragedy .

        The further back in history i look into the meaning the less it focuses on natural disaster.

        Tragedy seems to imply dramatic events human , heroes , gods , or nature .
        ( greek tragedies myths ect )

        What makes you come to the conclusion its a narrow definition?
        Please elaborate and send me the links if possible.

        Lets say you are correct about the specific word definition. ( which is highly likely due to your professional experience)
        Isn’t it more important to understand what the reader intends versus their possible unintended misuse of a specific word?
        The other words in her statement tend to override her possible word choice mistake and clarify she meant to honor world war 2 vets.

        Frankly why would Pertola intend to demean the horrific Pearl Harbor attack?
        Her social peers / coastal natives world war 2 vets were intimately involved in the defense of Alaska against the Japanese. It would not serve her voter base popularity to demean her base .

        To my understanding Tragedy means story or acts involving great sorrow.

        Please explain why im incorrect or if my point is reasonable. Thank you.

        Doesn’t pertola make enough foolish decisions it’s not necessary to attack her for something unintentional?

        ( btw im as anti pertola as anyone but I think we must hold the high ground)

        So hopefully you can analyze the questions without assuming im biased.

        Thank you.

        • What I meant was Pearl Harbor was a tragedy because it resulted in so many of the Japanese who died from the subsequent nuclear attack by the United States. That’s what I meant. MRAK always gets it wrong.

  19. Don’t be idiots. We all know that Mary Peltola is a left-wing branded commie. She doesn’t belong in Congress, nor does she serve as a viable replacement for our late congressman Don Young. Peltola is a very shallow thinker and has only memorized the familiar lines of the Biden creed and his totalitarian serfs.

  20. You and your clique from Homer should just change your name to mustroastmary.com
    Your obsession with her is f@&king disgusting. New low for you!

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