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Sunday, December seventh. Nineteen forty-one. Pearl Harbor on Oahu, Hawaii is attacked by Japanese forces.
"A date which will live in infamy."
Five minutes until eight a.m., Hawaii time, the island skies were full of Japanese planes, with bullets and bombs falling from the air during the first attack.
Fifteen minutes later, a bomb totaling almost one ton crashed into the USS Arizona battleship. The ship blew up, sank and trapped over one thousand men inside.
A second attack took place within the next hour as the Japanese destroyed more ships and facilities. The USS Oklahoma was also hit by torpedoes, with around four hundred men inside as it rolled and fell underwater.
As the assault ended, all of the battleships at Pearl Harbor had been significantly damaged. Eighteen ships and around three hundred airplanes were hit or destroyed.
Other equipment lost in the onslaught were three destroyers, three light cruisers and three smaller vessels. But most of all, around one thousand men were injured and almost twenty-five hundred men died, while only one hundred Japanese died in the battle.
But what led to the massacre?
Online sources note that the nineteen-thirties saw international conflicts among various nations, notably between the United States and Japan. War seemed to be imminent between the two countries, but the intelligence received prior to the attack led to few, if any, precautionary measures taken by the Americans as the base was not on high alert.
As the world found out about the horror in Hawaii on that day, panic ensued. The next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt would address the nation and declare war on Japan, garnering the approval of Congress.
Yet, as men throughout America joined the war effort, none of them would know that within a couple of years, their country and the world would be involved in the second World War.
Seventy-one years ago, Pearl Harbor fell victim to senseless acts. It would be the most deathly sneak attack to our nation until September eleventh, two thousand and one.
And as America wraps up their efforts in Afghanistan and the world looks to the conflicts in the Middle East, men and women today continue to fight for our freedoms, and we must never forget that on this day or any other day.