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On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy bombed the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Moreover, as then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in the aftermath of the attack, December 7 is “a date which will live in infamy
This Wednesday marks the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks.
The assault on Pearl Harbor was unprecedented and widespread. Lasting for nearly two hours, the Imperial Japanese Navy unleashed a military fury that virtually caught the United States off-guard.
According to PearlHarbor.org, over 3,500 people lost their lives, along with 188 aircraft and countless vessels. 1,247 military personnel were wounded and 57 civilians were caught in the crossfire.
Out of the nearly 60,000 active duty military personnel stationed at and around Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack, only 3,000 are alive today. In a statement released honoring the dedication and sacrifice of the military on Pearl Harbor, the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki reaffirmed the VA’s continued commitment to “ America’s greatest generation,” a moniker signifying all of the men and women who served bravely during World War II.
The decision to bomb Pearl Harbor’s naval base was more of a defensive strategy by the Imperial Japanese Navy. Instead of desiring to provoke the United States to officially join World War II, Japanese military officials used the bombing as a preventative means. Essentially, they didn’t want the United States to meddle in their war efforts in Asia.
This “infamous” day marked the United States official entry into the then global war, joining efforts on both the European and Pacific fronts.
As we all celebrate, honor and remember the service and sacrifice our military made on that fateful day in 1941, let us not forget that those events lead to the deaths of nearly 400,000 United States service members with 700,000 wounded.
On the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, its important for us, as a nation, to give thanks and honor to those brave souls. Spend some time immersing yourself in the fascinating stories and accounts of those who were there atNational Geographic. Reeducate yourself on the timeline of the attack at the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. Or, consider donating to an organization that supports medical research for Navy veterans with mesothelioma from their time spent on naval vessels manufactured with asbestos.
However you chose to honor December 7, remember that the events that took place forever changed the face of not only our country but also the world as we know it.
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