Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, an assault which killed two thousand, four hundred and three Americans at the naval base in Hawaii, left one thousand, one hundred and seventy-eight wounded, and catapulted the United States into World War II.
Remembering Pearl Harbor on the 75th Anniversary
“…a date which will live in infamy…”
The attack began at approximately 7:55 a.m. on that sunny, Sunday morning. When it was over, in excess of 300 aircrafts were destroyed or damaged and 21 ships were sunk, including the USS Arizona. As a result, President Roosevelt notably declared Dec. 7 “…a date which will live in infamy”. His speech being brief but dramatic, he spoke with resolution and requested a declaration of war from Congress. Response to the speech was fiercely positive, and within the hour, Congress passed the declaration against the Empire of Japan.
The USS Arizona
The USS Arizona, which sank with some of its sailors still onboard, was hit by a bomb which discharged ammunition and fuel supplies, taking victims down quickly in the wreckage. Recalling that day, one of the ship’s survivors, Donald Stratton (aged 94) said of the disaster, “We sacrificed 1,177 men on that ship, and I was one of the lucky ones to get off.” Stratton is only able to speak as a survivor due to his perseverance at the time in climbing down a rope line approximately 80 feet to an awaiting boat, after which he spent a year in the hospital prior to his medical discharge. Stratton reenlisted the following year, and participated in five assaults after being assigned to a destroyer. In an interview with NBC news, Stratton said “It was so hot and I was burned so bad I don’t have any fingerprints anymore.”
Unable to Bear a Return and Never Spoke About That Day