We Still Remember: A Reflection of the Pearl Harbor Bombings of December 7, 1941

By Andy Beth Miller
pearl harbor

The infamous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is shown in this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo. The USS Arizona is pictured in flames after being hit. Photo: Paul Walsh.

December 7, 1941 started out like any other sunny day in paradise, yet for the island residents of Oahu in Hawaii—and the whole world for that matter—life as they knew it was about to come to an earth-shattering halt. The Japanese bombings of Pearl Harbor was the attack heard around the globe, and a pivotal point in world history that President Franklin Roosevelt would famously describe as, “a date which will live in infamy.”

Throughout the surprise raid and explosions from Japanese forces, under the command of Vice-Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, more than 2,300 Americans lost their lives in service to their country. Beginning at the early morning hour of 7:55 a.m., it took just two hours for the surprise attack to wreak havoc on Hawaii’s otherwise peaceful and idyllic American shores. The esteemed American battleship U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed, while its sibling vessel, the U.S.S. Oklahoma, was capsized. Overall, the attack would obliterate an estimated 12 Naval vessels, with extensive damage to nine, and annihilate 160 aircrafts, with yet another 150 left severely damaged.

Beauty from Ashes

Today, the battle-scarred, still partially submerged remnants of the U.S.S. Arizona lie in rest at Pearl Harbor where, daily, visitors may come to pay their respects and honor the many soldiers who lost their lives on that fateful day. Here guests get a rare glimpse at actual photos and videos of what life was like during the times and aftermath of the Pearl Harbor. Guests may also walk through an onsite museum complete with memorials and mementos of this special season in history.

The United States and Japan have enjoyed a mutual accord of welcomed peace since the signing of a peace treaty onboard the U.S.S. Missouri on September 2, 1945.

As we remember the devastating events of December 7, 1941 and the pains of war, we also set aside moments of reflection to simply show our thankfulness for the continued (and lengthy) season of peaceful relations between Hawaii and Japan.

The 442nd Infantry

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team hiking up a muddy French road in the Chambois Sector, France, in late 1944. Photo: US Army.

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team hiking up a muddy French road in the Chambois Sector, France, in late 1944. Photo: US Army.

Included in our thoughts during this momentous occasion and anniversary are particularly those who served within the 442nd Infantry Regiment. We remember those brave soldiers of Japanese descent from Hawaii who traveled to Europe and fought for the United States with unwavering patriotism. These soldiers from Hawaii gave their lives in service while many Japanese Americans on the continental U.S. were confined to internment camps. The most highly decorated unit for its size and length of service, the soldiers of the 442nd Infantry Regiment earned 9,486 Purple Hearts, 21 Medals of Honor, and 8 Presidential Unit Citations.

A Symbolic Gesture of Peace and Reconciliation

We also acknowledge the beautiful gestures of peace that have been offered over the years. For example, Dr. Genshitsu Sen, the 15th grand tea master of the Urasenke School of Tea, visited Pearl Harbor to conduct a sacred tea ceremony honoring the deceased entombed at the USS Arizona Memorial. Dr. Genshitsu Sen was among the Japanese soldiers that fought against the US in World War II. Dr. Sen’s tea ceremony offered peace and reconciliation.

Special Events Held for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day – Thursday, December 7, 2019 – Events held at Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade – Thursday, December 7, 2019 – Parade through Waikiki starting at 6 pm at Ft. DeRussy.

More About Pearl Harbor

Visit the special Pearl Harbor section at www.hawaii.com/pearl-harbor to learn more about Pearl Harbor and the Hawaii.com blog at www.hawaii.com/blog for current news articles.

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