Moment of silence: Remembering Dec. 7, 1941

  • Published
  • By By Airman 1st Class Bryan Crane
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan,"- Franklin Roosevelt.

President Roosevelt uttered these well-remembered words the day after the Pearl Harbor attacks.

Seventy-one years later, we still remember the fallen victims of that day.

The Pearl Harbor attack, at the time, was the largest enemy assault on United States territory. By the end of the day, more than 2,000 individuals had lost their lives.

Today, we thank those that gave their lives that day, those who defended our home and who would continue the fight throughout World War II.

At 7:55 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, a Japanese force of 183 airplanes attacked U.S. military and naval facilities on Oahu without warning.

For 30 minutes, dive bombers, level bombers and torpedo planes struck airfields and naval vessels. Not only did the attack hit the fleet at Pearl Harbor, but also air bases at Ford Island and Kaneohe Bay, the Marine airfield at Ewa and the Army Air Corps fields at Bellows, Wheeler and Hickam.

After a 15-minute lull, another wave of 170 planes launched a second attack at 8:40 a.m. Japanese aircraft destroyed 151 U.S. planes on the ground and sank or damaged all eight U.S. battleships anchored in Pearl Harbor.

However, not all American assets were damaged in the attack.

"The Japanese success was overwhelming, but it was not complete. They failed to damage any American aircraft carriers, which by a stroke of luck, had been absent from the harbor," according to the Naval History and Heritage Command.

The next day, the U.S. declared war on Japan and entered World War II, changing the trajectory of the war, and of history.

Let us never forget the brave service and sacrifice of so many on that day.

(Information from the National Museum of the US Air Force contributed to this article)