Editorial: Remember Pearl Harbor

The unprovoked attack on the U.S. Navy

ships at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, is not just an event in

the history

books. It is a reminder of the price of liberty, the need for

military preparedness and a tribute to the generation that fought

World War II.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt called it “a date which will live in infamy,” and that label has stuck for 71 years. Now the

date is officially recognized as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Here are some of the facts about the

Pearl Harbor attack: The Japanese Imperial Navy launched an air raid on

Pearl Harbor

without a formal declaration of war. The direct strike force

included 353 Japanese aircraft and five midget submarines, from

a fleet of six aircraft carriers, two battleships, two heavy

cruisers, one light cruiser, nine destroyers, eight tankers and

23 fleet submarines.

The attack came in two waves, which

sank or badly damaged all eight U.S. battleships, three cruisers, three

destroyers, an

anti-aircraft training ship and one minelayer of the U.S. Pacific

Fleet. Also destroyed were 188 U. S. aircraft. But the irreplaceable

losses were the 2,402 Americans killed in action. There were also

1,282 Americans wounded.

While the U.S. Navy was caught by

surprise, there were many individual cases of heroism. The Japanese

losses included 29 aircraft

shot down, all five of the midget submarines lost (including one

that was grounded and captured) 65 personnel killed or wounded.

The Japanese commander of one of the submarines became Prisoner of

War No. 1 for the Americans.

The greatest single loss of American

personnel on a ship came when the USS Arizona sank when it was attacked

by 10 Japanese

bombers carrying armor-piercing shells. The Arizona suffered four

direct hits and three near misses. Seven seconds after the

last bomb hit at 8:06 a.m., there was a massive explosion and

catastrophic damage. The explosion took the lives of 1,177 of

the ship’s 1,512 crewmen on board at the time.

Before the Pearl Harbor attack the United States was deeply divided over getting involved in World War II. Afterward, the

U.S. became more united than it has ever been and fought the war until complete and unconditional victory over of the Axis

powers was achieved.

While the number of World War II veterans is fast dwindling, honor those who are still with us, as well as those who died

in the war and the many veterans who have died since.

• • •

This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney,

Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.