The morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941 began peacefully for those servicemen stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Around eight o’clock a swarming buzz consumed the sky overhead. Initially, the sailors believed the noise was coming from U.S. planes participating in a training exercise. However, as the warning sirens began to wail, planes with the red-sun icon painted on their wings were spotted shrieking towards the harbor. The U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor was under attack from the Japanese.
As explosions rocked the navy base, some servicemen ran for cover, while others were determined to fight the enemy, but it was too late. While the Japanese retreated back to their carriers, Pearl Harbor was being consumed in flames of destruction. The Japanese had destroyed two battleships and damaged six others, along with smaller sailing vessels. Two hundred U.S planes littered the ground, and 2,500 servicemen were dead.
On December 8, 1941, in the aftermath of the attack, President Franklin Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress and the nation via radio broadcast. President Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation was heard by a radio audience of sixty million Americans. At the end of his address, President Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war against Japan, which Congress approved.
Today, December 7, 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. May we take this time to reflect on those who fought for the freedom we have today.