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News - Miscellaneous - 2 Dec 2020

News Item 13 of 351 

Miscellaneous: 2 Dec 2020
PEARL HARBOR-Lest We Forget-Dec 7 1941

"December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy," President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously proclaimed.


On Monday, Americans will mark the 78th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.


The surprise raid on the major U.S. Navy base near Honolulu killed more than 2,400 Americans and, in short, brought the United States into World War II.


According to the National Park Service, Congress designated Dec. 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in August 1994. Remembrance events are held every year at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.


Here are some facts surrounding that fateful day in U.S. history:


Just before 8 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese planes made the surprise raid on Pearl Harbor. During the attack, which was launched from aircraft carriers, nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, were damaged or destroyed, as well as more than 300 aircraft, according to the History Channel.


The official death toll was 2,403, according to the Pearl Harbor Visitors Bureau, including 2,008 Navy personnel, 109 Marines, 218 Army service members and 68 civilians. Of the dead, 1,177 were from the USS Arizona, the wreckage of which now serves as the main memorial to the incident. Fifty-five Japanese also were killed.


The total number of wounded was 1,143, including 710 Navy, 69 Marines, 364 Army and 103 civilians, the Visitors Bureau says.


 


Until the raid, the U.S. had hesitated to join World War II, which had started on Sept. 1, 1939, after Germany invaded Poland.


 


In those nearly 2 1/2 years, the U.S. had extensively aided the United Kingdom, virtually the sole source of resistance to the Nazis in Europe, but a general mood of isolationism – brought on, according to the State Department’s Office of the Historian, by the Great Depression and the memory of huge losses during World War I – led Roosevelt and Congress to be wary of intervention.


 


Pearl Harbor reversed that in a day, with Congress issuing a declaration of war after Roosevelt’s speech on Dec. 8, 1941.




USA TODAY/jm
 

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