Each year on December 7th, we remember the heroes that lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor. On August 23, 1994, the United States Congress designated December 7th as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Every year, visitors come from all over the world to join Pearl Harbor Survivors and Veterans to honor the lives lost in the deadly attack.
Launching 353 aircraft from carriers located 132 miles off Oahu’s coast, the devastating Japanese attack came in two waves. The Japanese attack on the U.S. Naval base in Pearl Harbor claimed 2,403 American lives, including service members and civilians, while injuring 1,178.
Pearl Harbor is a pivotal point in American history. Each year we remember December 7th, the day that triggered the United States’ entry into WWII.
Pearl Harbor Tours provides ten interesting facts about Pearl Harbor:
- Americans fired the first shot. On the morning of December 7th, 1941, the Wickes-class destroyer USS Ward attacked and sank a Ko-hyoteki-class small submarine near the harbor entrance, making it not only the first shot fired on that day but the first official American shots in the war.
- The attack on Pearl Harbor lasted for about two hours.
- Congress approved Franklin Roosevelt’s declaration of war on December 8th.
- Japanese submarines were supposed to play a significant role in the attack.
- The surprise attack did not destroy the entire American Pacific Fleet. In the surprise attack on ‘Battleship Row,’ the Arizona and Oklahoma were the only ships damaged beyond repair by bombs or torpedo hits. Of the 2,026 American sailors and marines killed in the attack, 1,606 had been aboard these two ships. Three more battleships (the California, West Virginia, and Nevada) sank upright in the shallow water of the harbor. They were salvaged, and while many vessels did not return to the battlefield for several years, most suffered repairable damage. The Battleship Missouri is now anchored there.
- Veterans can be laid to rest at Pearl Harbor.
- Pearl Harbor was attacked to protect the invasion of the “Southern Resource Area.” While they knew that such an invasion would lead to war against America, Japan decided to destroy America’s Pacific Fleet to prevent American interference in its plan to access resources of countries in Southeast Asia, which Japan called the “Southern Resource Area.”
- Japan could have inflicted more significant damage if they had targeted different areas. Japan concentrated on destroying the battleships of the U.S. Navy as it thought the Pacific fleet battles would be decided on them. This proved to be wrong. Admiral Hara Tadaichi summed up the Japanese result by saying, “We won a great tactical victory at Pearl Harbor and thereby lost the war.”
- The USS Arizona still leaks fuel. According to the history Channel, the Arizona continues to spill up to 9 quarts of oil into the harbor each day. This is often referred to as “tears of the Arizona” or “black tears.”
- Japan is now one of America’s strongest allies.