It was the day Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor. They arrived without warning, and without a formal declaration of war. What happened next changed the world forever.
Today – December 7, 2011 – we look back and we remember. 70 years later, the attack on Pearl Harbor is still recognized as one of the most notorious and tragic events in American history.
Pearl Harbor In The Morning
It began as a calm Sunday morning. Around 4am, an officer aboard the U.S. Minesweep spotted something in the dark water. He took a closer look, and was shocked to realize it was a submarine’s periscope. This discovery was immediately reported to the crew of a nearby Destroyer, The Ward. Crew members on The Ward prepared for the worst, but after an intensive search they could not find the submarine.
Two hours later, many American soldiers were still sleeping. Others were preparing for duty, a day off or even an upcoming softball game. It seemed like any other day – no one had any reason to be concerned.
By 6:30am, the crew of The Ward was once again informed of something unusual in the water. This time they see it. A partially submerged submarine sits nearby. It is promptly destroyed.
Lieutenant William Outerbridge sends a radio alert about the incident. His coded message isn’t deciphered for several hours. No alarms were triggered. No one was warned.
The Attack On Pearl Harbor Begins
By 7am a fleet of Japanese planes is rapidly approaching Pearl Harbor. One American private notices abnormal activity on radar. He’s told it is a squad of American planes flying towards the base. He is assured that there is nothing to worry about.
Just before 8am, the planes reach their target. They unleash a fury of firepower that quickly sinks half the battleships stationed at Pearl Harbor. Bombs fall from the sky. Torpedoes rush up from the ocean depths. The attack is brief, precise and completely unexpected. Japanese Zero planes are lighting fast and heavily armed. Their massive force is devastating.
Aftermath Of Pearl Harbor
America lost more than 2,000 people to this brutal attack. 1,200 others were injured. Two waves of Japanese planes coldly and efficiently pummeled the naval base with deadly firepower. Much of the fleet was destroyed.
This attack was meant to discourage America from getting involved in World War II. It had the opposite effect. The brutal and unwarranted ambush rallied Americans together. We would not stand for an assault on American soil. Suddenly, the entire country was eager to enter the war. Our forces were weakened, but our resolve grew stronger.
The next morning President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed December 7 to be a day that would live in infamy. Japan’s unprovoked violence would not go unanswered. Congress declared war on the Japanese Empire. Our soldiers heard the call and prepared for battle. America was propelled deep into the heart of World War II. We would emerge victorious within four years.
PeopleFinders Remembers Pearl Harbor
At PeopleFinders, we proudly stand and salute the brave men and women who fight for their country – then and now. We thank these soldiers for their commitment, selflessness and tireless defense of our way of life.
Now and then we hear from people who found long-lost military buddies through our people search service. We’re honored to help veterans reconnect with people who served this country together. May you always remain strong, proud and united.
We will never forget December 7, Pearl Harbor Day. Not just for the horrific attack, but for the inspiring aftermath. America proved that we would not be bullied, we would not roll over and we would fight valiantly for the freedoms we hold so dear. America will always remain strong.
If you have a Pearl Harbor story you’d like to share, please leave a comment below. Thank you for reading the PeopleFinders people search blog.
Tags: 1941, A Day That Will Live In Infamy, Attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, Japanese Zero Bomber Planes, Lieutenant William Outerbridge, Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor Day, PeopleFinders, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Second World War, World War II