Surprise attack is event long remembered


The USS Arizona sank in 9 minutes.

Attack of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor.
By : 
Mary Jo Dathe
Glimpses of Yesteryear

"War!” Associated Press by Transpacific Telephone, San Francisco, Dec. 7, 1941:  President Roosevelt announced this morning that Japanese planes had attacked Manila and Pearl Harbor; Oahu bombed by Japanese planes..." 

Washington, D.C., Dec. 7:  Text of a White house announcement detailing the attack on the Hawaiian Island is:  "The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor from the air and all naval and military activity on the island of Oahu, the principal American air bases in the Hawaiian Islands are curtailed."

Such was the surprise attack on a Sunday morning while Japanese envoys were in Washington, D.C., to “talk” with officials. Hundreds of Honolulu-ans who hurried to the top of the Punchbowl soon after bombs began to fall, saw spread out before them the whole panorama of surprise attack and defense.  Far off over Pearl Harbor the white sky was polka-dotted with anti-aircraft smoke.   Wave after wave of bombers streamed through the clouded sky from the southwest and flung their missiles on a city resting in peaceful Sabbath calm, according to the Honolulu Star Bulletin’s first “extra;” then followed by these.

The second “extra” issue announced that over 400 were dead on Oahu; that Tokyo announced "state of war" with U.S.; Japanese raids were reported on Guam and Panama. Schools were to close; an Oahu blackout was issued; and the fleet here moved out to sea.   

NBC reported that 350 men killed in a direct hit on Hickam Field, the giant army airfield on Oahu. The third issue of the “extra” carried terrible news: Civilians were often wounded; there was heavy damage and much loss of life at Pearl Harbor.  Another report came in that at least five battleships were on fire and listing badly, including the Oklahoma and the Arizona.  On this day, totals were 2,409 killed and 1,178 wounded. Eventually the Arizona Memorial is opened to the public — over 1 million visitors toured the Arizona in 1977, and who knows how many in the meantime??  Who has visited the Arizona Memorial? 

You can visit the local veterans memorial to the west of the Methodist Church Museum on West Courtland, just one block west of the downtown Spring Valley area.  One can be reminded of  "A day that will live in infamy" – Dec. 7, 1941. There are many who gave their lives in defense of this nation.  We will always be grateful.

 

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