Americans turning on their radios on Sunday, December 7, 1941 heard the stunning news, “The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor.” In a surprise attack beginning just before 8:00 A.M. Hawaiian time, Japanese fighter planes descended on the Naval Air Station at Oahu, Hawaii and damaged or destroyed nearly 20 American naval vessels and over 300 airplanes. More than 2,400 soldiers, sailors and civilians were killed in the attack, and over 1,000 were injured. The attack followed a decade of worsening relations between the United States and Japan. The following day, President Franklin Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war against Japan. Congress complied with only one dissenting vote (Rep. Jeannette Rankin of Montana). The attack plunged the United States into World War II. In the days following the Pearl Harbor attack, government officials began to analyze what could have been done differently to prevent the attack or to minimize the damage that resulted. Admiral Husband Kimmel and Lt. General Walter Short, the Navy and Army commanders at Oahu, were relieved of duty and investigations and hearings were begun at once. The work of salvage and repair began immediately at the Naval Air Station. The attack spared aircraft carriers, oil supplies, Navy repair yards, and the submarine base at Pearl Harbor, enabling the United States to continue support for war efforts in the Pacific. Let us all pause for a moment this December 7 to remember the lives lost and the lives changed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution