The remembrance of the attack on Pearl Harbor will have a special reverence this year. The 73rd anniversary falls on a Sunday, the same day as Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese planes broke the morning calm to bomb American ships and planes stationed at the Hawaiian base.
Sunday will bring back vivid memories of the visit we made to Pearl Harbor a couple of summers ago. From the deck of our hotel room overlooking Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, I imagined the aircraft buzzing over nearby Diamond Head on their way to the American base.
The sun-splashed Pearl Harbor plaza, filled with excited tourists when we visited, made a peaceful contrast to the horrible events of that morning, when the first planes struck at around 7:55 a.m. Hawaiian time.
In the attack that shocked the nation and brought the United States into World War II, eight U.S. battleships were damaged, four of them sunk. The battleships were among 19 fleet ships damaged. A total of 2,403 Americans were killed, and 1,178 others injured. The Japanese destroyed 188 aircraft, according to Internet sources.
The USS Arizona, sunk after a fiery ammunition explosion, remains just below the harbor’s calm waters. A total of 1,777 sailors and Marines were killed in the explosion and sinking, according to Internet sources. A memorial, dedicated in 1962, rises above the ship’s hull, where many of those lost remain entombed.
Four of the nine living survivors from the Arizona will gather at Pearl Harbor Sunday for what likely will be their last official reunion, according to media reports. Other events, including a memorial parade Sunday in Honolulu, will be held. More than 2,500 are expected to gather at Pearl Harbor for the memorial ceremonies Sunday morning. Online registration to view live streaming of the event is available from the National Park Service.
Arizona survivors John D. Anderson, 97, Louis Conter, 93, Donald Stratton, 92, and Lauren Bruner, 94, will toast their lost shipmates, drinking from original champagne glasses salvaged from the Arizona. In a recent Stars and Stripes article, Anderson recalled escaping the Arizona’s fiery decks and finding a rifle to begin shooting back at Japanese planes.
Please enter your User Name and Password to view the rest of this subscriber-only story. If you are unable to login, your account may have expired. Please contact James Online if you have any problems.