December 7, 1941, 7:55 a.m., Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. An army of Japanese fighter planes descend on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor launching a surprise attack, striking a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet, and ultimately bringing the United States into World War II.
Here are 10 interesting facts about the attack on Pearl Harbor “a date which will live in infamy” (President Franklin D. Roosevelt):
10 FACTS ABOUT THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR
1. The Japanese plan to attack Pearl Harbor was devised by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, a former student at Harvard University, who had served as Japan’s naval attaché in Washington.
2. Japanese forces started the attack shortly before 8 a.m. Hawaiian time. The attack lasted nearly two hours.
3. Though caught off guard, U.S. service members fought back hard, and managed to fire more than 284,000 rounds of ammunition at the Japanese attackers.
4. A total of 2,403 service members and civilians were killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and 1,178 people were injured in the attack.
5. Five U.S. battleships, three destroyers and seven other ships were taken out and more than 200 aircraft were lost in the rain of Japanese bombs and gunfire.The attack permanently sank two U.S. Navy battleships (the USS Arizona and the USS Utah) and destroyed 188 aircraft.
6. No U.S. aircraft carriers were at Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack and the Japanese assault failed to take out U.S. ammunition sites.
7. All three Pacific fleet carriers were out at sea on training maneuvers at the time of the attack. These giant aircraft carriers would have their revenge against Japan six months later at the Battle of Midway, reversing the tide against the previously invincible Japanese navy in a spectacular victory.
8. USS Nevada was the only ship from Pearl Harbor’s Battleship Row to make a break for the open ocean during the attack.
9. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued a resolution recognizing the state of war between the United States and Japan. The Senate voted to approve the resolution by 82 to 0, and the House of Representatives approved the resolution by a vote of 388 to 1. The sole dissenter was Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, a devout pacifist who had also cast a dissenting vote against the U.S. entrance into World War I.
10. Though the Japanese Empire focused on the destruction of the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, the attack encompassed the entire island with assaults on Army and Marine aviation bases as well as civilian facilities.
3 WAYS TO HONOR PEARL HARBOR DAY DURING 2020
1. Hoist your flag with pride on this flag flying holiday in honor of all those who valiantly defended our nation against one of the largest attacks on U.S. soil.
2. Thank a WWII Veteran for their service and listen to a story or two.
3. Attend a live streamed public viewing of this year’s Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration on December 7, 2020 held at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center via www.pearlharborevents.com. This year’s theme is Above and Beyond the Call. In order to protect Pearl Harbor Survivors and World War II Veterans in attendance, the ceremony will be closed to the public.
Flags.com is eternally grateful to those who answered the call of duty and defended our nation on U.S. soil and in foreign lands, as well as the families who have supported them, grieved them, and continued their legacy. No matter how you honor Pearl Harbor Day this year, we hope you take a moment to ponder the sacrifices made to ensure our freedom.