remember pearl harbor


remember pearl harborFirst published December 5, 2002 in

Pearl Harbor located on the US Territory Hawaiian island of O’ahu was the location of the US Pacific Fleet in 1941. One hundred and thirty vessels, including huge battleships lay in the harbor. Naval and US Army airfields and installations adjacent to the harbor and on Ford Island were lined with aircraft. Mixed American sentiment towards involvement in the ensuing war filled our country. At the same time, Japan felt the time was advantageous to advance into Southeast Asia and conquer small territories controlled by various countries. However, the presence of the US military installations in the Hawaiian Islands was viewed by Admiral Isoruko Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleets, as an obstacle to Japanese conquest..



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December 7, 1941: Sunday early am: Japanese “mother” subs release five armed mini-subs 10 miles off the shore of O’ahu.
6:45 am: Crew on the patrol destroyer USS Ward spot a conning tower entering the harbor. They fire and destroy the mini-sub.
7:00 am: A large fleet of aircraft flying towards the island from the north is noticed but misidentified. The planes are thought to be either B-17’s flying in from the mainland or aircraft returning from the carrier Enterprise. No action is taken.
7:55 am: Japanese aircraft reach their target of Pearl Harbor. Dive-bombers begin attacking the airfields and torpedo planes start their attack on ships.
8:10 am: Full air attack begins with the explosion of the USS Arizona. When she is bombed, the shell penetrates her forward deck and ignites the forward ammunitions magazine. Nine minutes later she sinks taking along 1,177 crew. “Battleship Row” begins to explode: USS Oklahoma hit by torpedoes rolls and traps more than 400 crew inside. USS West Virgina sinks, USS Utah submerges taking more than 50 crew. USS Maryland, USS Pennsylvania and the USS Tennessee are severely damaged.. The USS Nevada tries to head out to the open sea but is stopped, runs aground and blocks the harbor entrance. Air fields and installations are bombarded. Hundreds of personnel are killed and hundreds of planes are destroyed.
8:30 am: A lull of enemy aircraft is felt.
8:40 am: A second wave of shelling in the inner harbor takes place. The USS Shaw is destroyed, the docks are demolished, and the USS Nevada is heavily damaged. The huge loss of American lives and causalities make retaliation hard.
10:00 am: The second wave of attack eases.

We learn later, a third assault is planned, but not carried through.

Losses from the three-hour attack are listed:
US personnel dead – 2,388: wounded -1,178
US ships sunk or beached – 12: damaged – 9
US aircraft destroyed – 164: damaged 159

Japanese losses: dead – 64: wounded – unknown, 5 ships sink. Out of over 380 attacking aircraft: 29 are destroyed and 74 are damaged.

President Franklin Roosevelt addresses the nation on radio. His famous statement, “a date which will live in infamy,” still echoes through history. Divided US involvement in World War II solidifies into the battle cry, “Remember Pearl Harbor” as the US bursts into World War II.

A month later, one of the most popular World War II marches written by Don Reid and Sammy Kaye is released, “Remember Pearl Harbor,” and sung loudly throughout the country. Another popular song, “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition,” is composed by Frank Loesser reflecting the words of a chaplain caught in the midst of the attack.
Begun under Eisenhower’s direction in 1958 and dedicated in 1962, a 187 foot-long structure is built above the midsection of the sunken USS Arizona. It serves as a memorial to both the attack and the dead crew cradled within the ship’s hull.


Each year, more than a million people visit Pearl Harbor. Many viewers are fascinated by the iridescent oil slick around the ship from drops of oil still seeping out of her destroyed remains. On December 7th, patriots gather across our land and place wreaths in remembrance of this tragic event in American’s proud history.


(Words to the song, “Remember Pearl Harbor“)

History – in every century,
Records an act that lives forevermore.
We’ll recall – as in to line we fall,
The thing that happened on Hawaii’s shore.

As we go to meet the foe.
As we did the Alamo.

We will always remember –
How they died for liberty.
And go on to victory.

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...