Today is “Pearl Harbor Day”. The day the Japanese attacked the United States American Naval Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
I first learned about Pearl Harbor in elementary school. In Junior High School we learned of the events leading up to the attack, and did quite a bit of study on the following 4 years, basically ending with—We won! Than in Senior High we attempted to analyze it all not as a war but as a “Problem of Democracy”.
I wonder how the generation of today views Pearl Harbor and it’s aftermath. I sorely feel that those events are far too distant to be any concern to them, and maybe they are right.
I remember well asking my Dad about Pearl Harbor and I remember well the lesson I got that day. Pop had enlisted in the Navy in 1938 and received his basic training at Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Great Lakes Illinois. He was in San Diego the day the Japanese attacked Pearl. He knew his life would never be the same again, and neither would the world.
The battleships at Pearl Harbor were an eclectic fleet. Many of them were of Pre-World War I vintage. Although aging, it was a formidable force and the pride of the U.S. Navy. Relations with Japan were severely strained but even so it was not generally believed an attack so brazen would even be attempted from the small island nation, especially since they were so involved in the conquest of Indochina and the South Pacific. How utterly wrong we were.
The Fleet was severely crippled, but the resolve of the United States was far more than the Japanese had counted on. Many of the battleships that could be repaired were and in the process, they were upgraded and retrofitted. Moreover, new Battleships were built, a class of battleship known as the “Fast Battleship”. Battleships like the Missouri, Washington, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and South Dakota are all members of this class.
I have a special interest in the South Dakota, as that is the ship my Dad served on and his stories of that service are some of my fondest memories of him. But that is for another post.
Today we must remember the brave men and women of Pearl Harbor and that pivotal event that took us to war in the Pacific. As with all wars it was controversial. But nonetheless, a significant page in our history in the ongoing quest for the freedoms we enjoy today.
God Bless Our Veterans! God Bless America!