Seventy-eight years after Japanese forces attacked the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii, Americans nationwide still pause to remember the day’s events.
The December 7, 1941, raid was one of the most significant events in American history. The attack led to America joining the Allies’ military assault on Japan as well as Adolf Hitler’s Germany. The next day, President Franklin Roosevelt asked Congress to declare a state of war.
The surprise raid came as a shock to Americans, as the Japanese maintained strict radio silence as they flew from the Kuril Islands’ Hitokappu Bay to their target on the island of Oahu, according to the National WWII Museum. Lasting nearly two hours, the attack took 2,403 lives, with another 1,178 injured, according to the museum. Nineteen ships were destroyed or damaged, and the USS Arizona sank in Pearl Harbor during the attack. It remains there today, with an American flag flying above it to serve as a memorial to those who died.
Saturday marks the 78th anniversary of the attack, and the National Parks Service and the Navy will hold the annual commemoration ceremony. Pearl Harbor survivors, World War II veterans and their family members are expected to attend, and a moment of silence will take place at 7:55 a.m. local time, the exact moment the attack began, according to the event’s website.
Those who can’t make it to Hawaii in person can commemorate the event by reading about it and looking at photos from that day, and remembering the enormous impact it had on American history.
Pearl Harbor Quotes
“No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. –”President Franklin D. Roosevelt
“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” –Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
“Everybody knows about Pearl Harbor. The thing that really fascinated me is that through this tragedy there was this amazing American heroism.” –Michael Bay, who directed the 2001 film Pearl Harbor
“The day before, I was a happy-go-lucky kid, didn’t have a care in the world. Got up that morning, and here I was right in the middle of a whole war.” –Robert Newkirk, who was stationed at Schofield Barracks on Oahu
“To have the United States at our side was to me the greatest joy. Now at this very moment I knew the United States was in the war, up to the neck and in it to the death. So we had won after all!… Hitler’s fate was sealed. Mussolini’s fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder.” –British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Photos of the Pearl Harbor Attack
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