75 Years Since Tragedy

Pearl Harbor turns 75 years old this December

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Wednesday December 7th will mark 75 years since the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The 110 minute assault started at 7:55 on a Sunday morning, and took the lives of over 2000 people.

The sneak attack was carried out by 230 Japanese fighters and 5 midget subs, and the damage was catastrophic to say the least. All battleships that were there were damaged or sunk, along with another 11 ships and three air fields were destroyed.

The day was widely regarded as the event that sucked America into the second world war, a war that would last over 4 years and claim the lives of over 400,000 U.S. soldiers.

But perhaps the real atrocities weren’t on that day, but as a result from it. A reactionary wave of racism and fear engulfed the citizens of the U.S.

Over 100 thousand innocent Japanese men, women, and children, were hastily swept away to internment camps in the interior of the country. A whopping 62% were U.S. citizens.

However, incarceration rates differed based on where one lived. Nearly all of the Japanese Americans living on the west coast were forced into camps, but ironically enough, only about 1% of the Japanese population in Hawaii was interned.

Many people compare the Japanese internment camps to the concentration camps in Germany and Europe at the same time, for the same reasons: both were based on hate and fear.

It’s also important to draw the connections between Pearl Harbor and 9/11. And while one was driven by wartime strategy and the other was a sudden attack of terrorism, the reactions to both were almost identical.

The fear, hatred and racism that drove America after the attack on Pearl Harbor was the same fear, hatred and racism that drove America after the attack on the Twin Towers. Feelings towards Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor show strong resemblance to how America and the world has treated Muslims after 9/11.

Today, the whole harbor has been turned into a memorial for the day that, according to FDR, “Will live on in infamy.”

The centerpiece of it all is the USS Arizona monument. Also known as The World War II Valor in the Pacific Monument, the site consists of a kind of bridge that sits floating above the former battleship. The monument acts as the final resting place for a majority of the sailors that were killed.

Other monuments include the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, the Pacific Aviation Museum, and a walking tour of the ship where the war ended, the USS Missouri. It was on this ship where Japan officially surrendered.

Persistent people can find out that many of Pearl Harbor’s historic sites are found a littler further from the harbor itself. Many airfields, barracks, and multiple post-attack observation points.

It has been 75 years since Pearl Harbor, and the day will truly live in infamy. We can’t ever forget what happened at 7:55 that Sunday morning, or how we reacted, and the importance of not letting history repeat.

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