Monday, December 7, 2020

Remembering December 7, 1941

It was a quiet Sunday morning, when out of nowhere, the Japanese arrived and bombed the ships at Pearl Harbor.  Everyone was shocked and it was described the the president at the time as "A day that would live in infamy." Too many died at Pearl Harbor and at other military bases across Hawaii.  When all was said and done, just over 2,400 people were dead and 19 navel ships were either damaged or destroyed.

I grew up where the family would talk about December 7th as if it had happened yesterday.  One of the grand or great grand parents swore that Roosevelt knew about the Japanese attack before it happened but wanted us to get involved in the war so the American economy could recover from the depression.  

According to most things I've read, the United States didn't know about the attack, they just suspected the possibility because diplomatic negotiations with Japan were in the process of breaking down.  Japan took advantage of the situation by sending a squad of 360 planes to attack the United States.  It appears that radar operators saw the planes approaching from the north but were told not to alert anyone because they thought it was the fleet of B-17's they'd been expecting.

Another family member said that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in the hopes of discouraging American involvement in the Pacific Theater.  According to things I've read, that was almost correct.  The Japanese planned to bomb Pearl Harbor in the hopes they'd destroy most of the Naval fleet and demoralize the American military so they wouldn't stop Japan's march across the Pacific.  In addition, they missed many of their targets so they left Pearl Harbor with its fuel and repair facilities Fortunately for the United States, much of their fleet was out on maneuvers so the attack was not as devastating as it cold have been.

In addition, this same person and family lived in Honolulu at the time of the bombing.  They said it was quiet and all the sudden the bombing began.  She said civilians died because not all the bombs landed on the Pearl Harbor or Hickam Field.  She left Honolulu on Christmas Day, taking her family to Washington, or Oregon so her sons could finish school.   After graduating from high school, one of her sons joined the Navy.  

She spent most of World War II working for Boeing as one of the women who helped build bombers for the war effort.  One of her sons helped build bombers too because he could not enlist due to a medical condition while the other did his part fighting in the war.  I don't think she ever forgot the bombing.  She lived to the ripe age of 97 and her younger son is 96 years old.

Although several installations were attacked that day, only Pearl Harbor is remember, perhaps because it was the hardest hit.  Other installations hit include Hickam Field on Oahu and one of the American bases in the Philippines but people only remember Pearl Harbor.  Unfortunately, people who remember Pearl Harbor are dying and an no longer share their stores.  In another 20 or 30 years, people will talk about the bombing of the World Trade Center because that became the world jarring event that changed people's lives in the same way Pearl Harbor did.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

No comments:

Post a Comment