Long before the terrible day of September 11th, 2001 another day brought tears to the many who lost loved ones. That day was December 7th, 1941. Most commonly known today as Pearl Harbor day. I remember my 5th grade teacher speaking to the class about the loss her family experienced on that day and how she lost her brother and how bad I had felt for her that day as she grew teary eyed as she recounted the event. Each year it's almost like I'm transported back to my fifth grade class on this day.
The United States is celebrating Pearl Harbor Day today. Sixty eight long years have passed since that ghostly day when more than two thousand people were massacred by a rampaging Japanese army.
But despite the lapse of time the nation has not forgotten the death and destruction wrought upon the United States by an enemy that has now become out most trusted ally, Japan.
But that was a different time. The world was different altogether.
Japan wanted to destroy the western hegemony in East Asia and Far East and it wanted to see the United States was not able to join the war with its European allies.
Despite the destruction wrought upon by hundreds of Japanese bombers that destroyed a number of naval warships, fighter planes and much of the infrastructure.
It could not dampen the US sprit that emerged more powerful than ever before. In fact a world power emerged from the ruins of Pearl Harbor.
The day is still remembered by millions of the US nationals across the world who remember the sacrifices made by their forefathers to make the US that it is today.
Pearl Harbor changed the course of the history, like no other attack in the last century.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was an unannounced military strike conducted by the Japanese navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941, which resulted in the United States becoming militarily involved in World War II.
It was intended as a preventive action to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from influencing the war the Empire of Japan was planning to wage in Southeast Asia against Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States. The attack consisted of two aerial attack waves totaling 353 aircraft, launched from six Japanese aircraft carriers.
The attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships (two of which were raised and returned to service later in the war) and damaged four more.
The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer, destroyed 188 aircraft, and caused personnel losses of 2,402 killed and 1,282 wounded. The power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building were not hit. Japanese losses were minimal, with 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured.
One of the survivor O'Connor remember that moment "All the torpedo planes were coming right off our fantail, I watched the West Virginia go up from two torpedoes that were dropped. All hell was breaking loose. I saw the bombs that hit the Arizona."
O’Connor was deployed in pacific during Second World War he recalls how he survived that attack. "I said, 'Goodbye world,' and I hit the deck, Nothing happened. I got up, and here come two more torpedoes. They came right under where I was standing."
Eighty five year old ken Adams also belongs to meager survivor. Old Adams stay in his home most of the time and greets his visitor. He joined the survivors association in early 90’s to mark the 50th anniversary of the attack. Chapter 4 of survivors association arranges memorial ceremony every year at Laurel Land Memorial Park.
Adam said about chapter 4 and survivor that "What we did was formed a fellowship with just all of us, We were so close. We were like family.” Adam is also worried about this ceremony and this legacy after his time is done as in final meeting of chapter 4 in February 2008 only 10 people attended it. It forced the dissolution of chapter 4.
Adams is just worried whether his next generation will remember this historic moment or not.
My fifth grade teacher has long passed away but the story she told me of her loss has remained with me for these many years as a reminder of all the heartache and destruction that wars cause. So today, let us reflect on that and take a little time to enjoy the life that we have.