Now 77 years ago, December 7, 1941 was the attack on Pearl Harbor. As it was a Sunday morning, many of the American soldiers were relaxing, eating breakfast in the cafeteria or attending religious services. However, just after 7 a.m., large groups of aircrafts were detected on radar, flying towards Hawaii. U.S. planes were expected at that time, so no alarms were sounded.

However, the surprise Japanese attack that morning resulted in the destruction of five of the eight battleships stationed in Pearl Harbor, as well as three destroyers, several other ships and over 200 aircraft. A total of 2,400 American lives were lost that day, with 1,200 more wounded.

The bombing launched the United States into World War II. A few days later, Germany and Italy also declared war against the U.S. World War II continued on for four years, costing over 400,000 American lives. However, in the end, the United States and their Allies were victorious in their fight, ensuring that freedom would still ring true for generations to come.

Some famous quotes in remembrance:

Before going to war, President Roosevelt said, “No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it. There can be no appeasement with ruthlessness. There can be no reasoning with an incendiary bomb. We know now that a nation can have peace with the Nazis only at the price of total surrender.”

The day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, President Roosevelt declared, “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.”

“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’ “ –Winston Churchill, in an effort to rally the British not long after France fell to Germany

“I thought of a remark . . . that the United States is like a ‘gigantic boiler. Once the fire is lighted under it there is no limit to the power it can generate.’ Being saturated and satiated with emotion and sensation, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful.” ―Winston S. Churchill

Julie White can be reached at


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