70 years ago today: A date that will live in infamy

posted at 8:35 am on December 7, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Before December 7th, 1941, most Americans believed that there was little need to concern ourselves with foreign conflicts, and that our own US Navy meant that the two oceans that separate us from Europe and Asia would keep us secure. By the end of the next day, those illusions of isolation and security had been shattered, and the US put firmly on the path to asserting itself as an eventual superpower. The Washington Times interviewed a handful of surviving veterans of the attack on Pearl Harbor, whose recollections reflect the shock that the attack gave this nation, and the end of our illusion of security:

When Mr. Davis enlisted in 1940 at age 17, he was given the choice of where to serve. He chose Pearl Harbor, having heard glowing reports of the “beautiful girls and nice weather” in Hawaii, a stark contrast to his upbringing in the rugged coal region of Pennsylvania.

That decision led to his first brush with death on Dec. 7, 1941. As a young man, Mr. Davis quickly learned how fragile life can be.

The infamous Japanese sneak attack claimed the lives of nearly 2,400 servicemen and women, some of whom Mr. Davis considered friends.

Until now, the memories of this day — its death, shock, and unimaginable bravery — have been safeguarded by an association of survivors from the attack.  This year, though, the torch must be passed:

Since the 1950s, Mr. Davis and others have kept their legacies alive through the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, but the group will disband at the end of the year. Its members are nearing 90 years older, and many have serious health problems.

“It was just getting to be too much for them. The youngest survivors are 88 years old,” said Carol Gladys, the daughter of a Pearl Harbor survivor and secretary of Sons and Daughters, Pearl Harbor Survivors Inc. It’s been in existence since the 1970s, but now will play a much larger role in ensuring the stories aren’t forgotten.

“I think we have a lot of work ahead of us. You walk up to a lot of younger people and ask them what the USS Arizona was, and they have no idea,”Ms. Gladys said. “The younger generation, they have no idea what happened in Hawaii.”

I recall one of my journalism teachers in high school who was also a Pearl Harbor survivor, who shared a few memories with me.  He was on the second ship out of the harbor, but my almost-certainly faulty memory has him saying that was the USS Nevada, which was actually beached after being hit by a torpedo.  He spoke of the battle matter-of-factly and graciously to an all-too-curious student, but it was clear even then to me that he wasn’t terribly anxious to relate much more than the known facts of the attack, and understandably so.

That generation has done its job in carrying the burden of keeping that day alive for Americans.  It’s time for the succeeding generations to pick up that burden ourselves.  Wikipedia has links to sites where readers can learn about the attack that transformed our nation, and there are plenty of books on the subject, too.  Let the torch be passed, for as one of the men in the clip rightly says, our freedom today is owed in large part to the men and women who gave their lives at Pearl Harbor, and those that followed them into battle afterwards.  Their stories deserve to be remembered, and the lessons must be taught to avoid another Pearl Harbor in our future.

Update: The actual FDR quote is “a date that will live in infamy,” not day.  I’ve corrected the headline, and thanks to Pain Train for pointing it out.

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That generation has done its job in carrying the burden of keeping that day alive for Americans.

Amen to that. Thanks, Ed.

Ugly on December 7, 2011 at 8:38 AM

I recall one of my journalism teachers in high school who was also a Pearl Harbor survivor, who shared a few memories with me.

A true gift is someone sharing those stories with you. I have a few of those myself.

cozmo on December 7, 2011 at 8:39 AM

God bless them one and all

cmsinaz on December 7, 2011 at 8:40 AM

Pearl harbor is probably just a paragraph in todays history books in school, overpowered with PC crapola

cmsinaz on December 7, 2011 at 8:42 AM

My dad watched the movie “Tora, Tora, Tora” countless times. The one line I remember is the Japanese military officer fretting, “We may have awakened a sleeping giant.” (something like that). That generation was a great one.

conservative pilgrim on December 7, 2011 at 8:46 AM

“Three wars. I’ve been bombed, I’ve been shot at by machine guns, by airplanes, I’ve been shelled. I don’t understand why I wasn’t hit,” he said. “I never knew when I was going to go, when it was going to hit me. It could’ve happened in any of the three wars. I lived on the edge, there ain’t no doubt about it.”

I only regret that these great men had to live to see everything they fought for go up in smoke.

labrat on December 7, 2011 at 8:47 AM

Pearl Harbor was and is proof that you can never rely on logic to predict what your enemies will do. You prepare for what they CAN do. Logically, Pearl Harbor was suicide for the Japanese military. They should never have expected it to help their longterm position, but they did.

RBMN on December 7, 2011 at 8:49 AM

I was 8 months old that day. Somehow the trauma within the gathered family affected me, because I’m sure I remember the anxiety, even though that doesn’t seem possible.

I do remember growing up in my grandparent’s home, where all the families had gathered to live while the uncles went off to war. I remember the rationing and the victory gardens.

I do remember the family gathering in front of the giant floor radio each night, I presume to listen to the news from the war fronts.

I vaguely remember those that did not come home.

Yoop on December 7, 2011 at 8:50 AM

Such a milestone, will dear leader actually acknowledge it?

cmsinaz on December 7, 2011 at 8:52 AM

Such a milestone, will dear leader actually acknowledge it?

cmsinaz on December 7, 2011 at 8:52 AM

The private school his daughters attend is serving Japanese food today. So there’s that.

Kataklysmic on December 7, 2011 at 8:55 AM

I lived on the edge, there ain’t no doubt about it.

I only regret that these great men had to live to see everything they fought for go up in smoke.

labrat on December 7, 2011 at 8:47 AM

I only regret that I wasn’t there to assist in some way.

Ugly on December 7, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Clearly Pearl Harbor was Hoovers’ fault.

PappyD61 on December 7, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Kataklysmic, wow

PC crapola

*sigh*

cmsinaz on December 7, 2011 at 9:02 AM

my father had a life long love of geography which I think came from the huge map of the world in his grandmother’s house (where he lived until 1948 while all the men were at war). the map was referred to constantly as letters came from his uncles describing their location (if they could describe it) & when places were referenced in newspapers & radio.

I come from a warrior family. And I’m proud of that. Never forget.

kelley in virginia on December 7, 2011 at 9:03 AM

Try this on for size: Pearl Harbor Day lunch menu at Obama kids’ school: teriyaki chicken, tofu, fried rice, fortune cookie http://wapo.st/tKwcpN

And no, this is not an Onion parody.

Physics Geek on December 7, 2011 at 9:09 AM

A good day to fly the flag and say a prayer for all those who serve and protect us.

philly_PA on December 7, 2011 at 9:15 AM

You walk up to a lot of younger people and ask them what the USS Arizona was, and they have no idea,”Ms. Gladys said.

I’m not sure which is more important, taking back the White House, or taking back the educational system.

rbj on December 7, 2011 at 9:17 AM

My grandfather’s best friend, William Dempsey Horton, was stationed aboard USS West Virginia. He had left his home of Rockdale, TX to find a steady income. “Demp” Horton was killed aboard ship in the Pearl Harbor attacks.

Demp had been an only son. When my grandfather came home from the Pacific in 1946, he began an annual tradition of driving out to Rockdale every Mother’s Day to spend the day with Mrs. Horton. Having lost his own mother when he was a child, it was a perfect way for my granddad to spend the day–something he did every year until Mrs. Horton passed away.

hungrymongo on December 7, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Reading a terrific book on WWII in the Pacific, detailing the history from Pearl Harbor to Midway. Here’s a link:

http://www.amazon.com/Pacific-Crucible-War-Sea-1941-1942/dp/0393068137

The author, Ian W Toll, also wrote a book about the founding of the US Navy which is a rollicking good read.

BJ* on December 7, 2011 at 9:18 AM

That generation was a great one.

Yet they produced one of the worst.

Notorious GOP on December 7, 2011 at 9:20 AM

This anniversary is significant to me, because seventy years is the Biblically demarked lifetime.

Soon, now, Pearl Harbor will fade from living memory.

The Greatest Generation fought, and saved the world.
Their children remembered, but rebelled.
Their grandchildren, for the most part, remembered and respected.
It’s the great-grandchildren where the cultural memory – and respect – of exactly what the Greatest Generation did – will die.

Now we enter the time when the influence of that upstanding generation, and of the “old” America, will disappear.

We now go forward into uncharted, unsettling waters. At some point, new generations will have to stand up for America afresh, and relearn why they fought, if America is to survive.

cane_loader on December 7, 2011 at 9:26 AM

That generation was a great one.

Yet they produced one of the worst.
Notorious GOP on December 7, 2011 at 9:20 AM

Who? Hitler? I’m speaking of Americans. Your comment can be said about every generation; generally I see the glass as half full.

conservative pilgrim on December 7, 2011 at 9:27 AM

hungrymongo on December 7, 2011 at 9:17 AM

To that generation “never forget” was ever so much more that just words.

Yoop on December 7, 2011 at 9:27 AM

My grandfather’s best friend, William Dempsey Horton, was stationed aboard USS West Virginia. He had left his home of Rockdale, TX to find a steady income. “Demp” Horton was killed aboard ship in the Pearl Harbor attacks.
Demp had been an only son. When my grandfather came home from the Pacific in 1946, he began an annual tradition of driving out to Rockdale every Mother’s Day to spend the day with Mrs. Horton. Having lost his own mother when he was a child, it was a perfect way for my granddad to spend the day–something he did every year until Mrs. Horton passed away.
hungrymongo on December 7, 2011 at 9:17 AM

That’s a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it.

conservative pilgrim on December 7, 2011 at 9:28 AM

“Earn this.”

cane_loader on December 7, 2011 at 9:29 AM

There are days I will never forget. Pearl Harbor is one of those days horrible days. It doesn’t seem like 70 years have passed–so vivid is the memory.

dragondrop on December 7, 2011 at 9:31 AM

I refuse to go to Google after they commemorated the invention of the Rubik’s Cube on 6 June rather than D-Day. Has anyone been there to see if they are acknowledging Pearl Harbor Day?

Dexter_Alarius on December 7, 2011 at 9:32 AM

conservative pilgrim on December 7, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Not talking about Hitler. I shouldn’t have said anything in this thread on this historic day.

Notorious GOP on December 7, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Today we’ll attend a couple of ceremonies commemorating this day. It breaks my heart to see how small they are becoming.

May God eternally bless these brave souls.

irongrampa on December 7, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto — “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

Mutnodjmet on December 7, 2011 at 9:41 AM

I was stationed on Ford Island for several years back in the 80′s and 90′s. I walked around the island many times at lunch time and often paused next to the Arizona to think about those still entombed below. This was before the new pier and USS Missouri being put near by. It was a tranquil spot and I always was struck by how close these men were to shore when they died. Wreckage from other ships was also in the waters around the island reminding me of the total destruction of that day.

Never forget.

BierManVA on December 7, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Mutnodjmet on December 7, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Has always been one of my very favorite quotes. :)

sleepingiantsup on December 7, 2011 at 9:47 AM

God bless the men and women who gave so much during the years that followed.

joated on December 7, 2011 at 9:47 AM

I’m glad we remember these awful days and honor the people who survived and prevailed. I dislike intensely ignoramuses who promote intergenerational hatred and bigotry.
.
Thanks to all who keep our country free in thought, word and deed.

ExpressoBold on December 7, 2011 at 9:51 AM

As my grandfather and many of his friends begin to pass, most people will forget it happened or only consider it a story from the distant past similar to the American revolution or the Civil War. We’ve seen how short-lived the awakening from 9/11 lasted and I fear this country, as a whole, has lost the ability to pick itself up when down. Today it seems people wait on the ground for a helping hand without the smallest attempt to rise on their own.

I reflect on 7 Dec 1941 and the greatness that came from it and I am saddened by today’s apathy and lack of personal responsibility.

Phatbastage on December 7, 2011 at 9:52 AM

For those with the desire you can order a flag that has been flown over the USS Arizona. After 9-11 I had 5 flown for family and friends so we never forget either. Mine hangs on my office wall with the certificate showing it was flown over the USS Arizona Dec. 7, 2001..

Thanks to all those who serve. May you be blesed both now and forever

theblacksheepwasright on December 7, 2011 at 9:52 AM

The date that shall live in infamy will die in ignominity if the so-called educators who write our text books and (allegedly) teach our children get their way…

bobnox on December 7, 2011 at 9:53 AM

God Bless the American Soldier and the Freedoms much of the World enjoys due to their sacrifice.

Baxter Greene on December 7, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Never forget. Altho the libtards are trying mightily to make us all forget it and instead apologize to Japan for Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Next, we’ll be apologizing to them for forcing them to commit war crimes with the Death March and what not, all because we let the sleeping bear loose or something.

AH_C on December 7, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Notorious GOP on December 7, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Ok. I need things spelled out for me sometimes; I don’t know who you are referring to. Anyway, another day, another time.

conservative pilgrim on December 7, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Thank you to everyone for sharing their memories, stories, links, etc. This is what I love about Hot Air! We visited Pearl Harbor several years ago and it’s a visit I’ll always remember. It was such a beautiful, tranquil memorial and we were amazed to watch oil from the USS Arizona slowly bubble to the surface, despite all the years since the war. We must not forget them and their sacrifice. God Bless them and God Bless those who have served or serve now.

GrannySunni on December 7, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Pearl Harbor was and is proof that you can never rely on logic to predict what your enemies will do. You prepare for what they CAN do. Logically, Pearl Harbor was suicide for the Japanese military. They should never have expected it to help their longterm position, but they did.

RBMN on December 7, 2011 at 8:49 AM

They made some bad judgement calls-such as assuming all of the aircraft carriers would be in port at the time of the attacks (they weren’t).

Also, they inexplicably failed to bomb the huge tank farm next to the harbor.

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM

There are days I will never forget. Pearl Harbor is one of those days horrible days. It doesn’t seem like 70 years have passed–so vivid is the memory.

dragondrop on December 7, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Were you in the service at the time or simply old enough to remember/be aware of it?

I feel the same way about 9/11. I was 15 at the time.

SgtSVJones on December 7, 2011 at 10:29 AM

And to think that a few bureaucrats in Washington had information that an attack on Hawaii was a strong possibility yet did nothing. Things don’t really change much, do they?

crco on December 7, 2011 at 10:32 AM

My dad watched the movie “Tora, Tora, Tora” countless times. The one line I remember is the Japanese military officer fretting, “We may have awakened a sleeping giant.” (something like that). That generation was a great one.

That is a great movie! Yamamoto apparently said that when he realized the attack would not achieve its stated goals. Also apparently was not happy the way the Japan foreign ministry did not deliver a message before the attack, thus the attack occurred while the two countries where at peace. He was right on his assessment! God bless our veterans!

SPGuy on December 7, 2011 at 10:32 AM

First visited the Arizona Memorial with a couple of friends in 1964-lived out there as a kid, as my Dad was stationed in Honolulu for 3 years. On the day we went out, the three of us were the only ones on the boat besides the Navy guy driving.

When I went back in 2003, some friends and I did the “compleat” tour of the Missouri (advance reservations required) which was fascinating. But we couldn’t get out to the Arizona because the wait was at least 3 hours!

For anyone planning a future visit to Pearl, be sure to take time to visit the new Aviation Museum, which is out on Ford Island next to the battleship.

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Amazing. The observation isn’t novel, but it’s true nonetheless – they were ordinary people doing extraordinary things. We owe them more than we could ever possibly repay.

whatcat on December 7, 2011 at 10:35 AM

That generation was a great one.

Yet they produced one of the worst.

Notorious GOP on December 7, 2011 at 9:20 AM

I don’t think your intent is all that hard to figure out for crying out loud. People need to relax a little.

The greatest generation produced one of the whiniest, me first, instant gratification, lets be “friends” instead of parents first generations ever.

Or am I wrong?

pain train on December 7, 2011 at 10:38 AM

The private school his daughters attend is serving Japanese food today. So there’s that. Kataklysmic on December 7, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Sidwell Friends?

Akzed on December 7, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Thanks Ed! Great tribute, and wonderful interviews.

simkeith on December 7, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Probably the last time Hollywood and the press rooted for America to win a war.

kurtzz3 on December 7, 2011 at 10:46 AM

My late stepfather, the man who raised me and a WWII Navy veteran himself, told me once about the handful of Civil War veterans he saw as a small child as they were driven by in an Independence Day parade in our home town of Shelbyville, Indiana. Those precious few Union men were very old by then, as old as the remaining WWII veterans are now. The passing of such men should always be remembered–and we shouldn’t think of them as old, either. We should see them as they were: young and strong and full of courage and life.

troyriser_gopftw on December 7, 2011 at 10:49 AM

I heard this story. Don’t know if its true.

Some years ago a tour bus of Japanese tourists got lost while looking for the Pearl Harbor memorial center. They ended up at the front gate of a Navy base.

As they pulled up to the guard on duty, the bus driver leaned out the window and asked where they could find the Arizona.

The guard looked at the passengers and said “It’s right where you left it.”

kurtzz3 on December 7, 2011 at 10:52 AM

My son called yesterday and asked me if I knew what ‘tomorrow’ was…and that I’d better get it right.
My son turns 18 in April. He remembers.
Btw: My dad was conceived in early December 1941-mainly to prevent my then almost 31 year old grandfather from being drafted.
I learned this from my mother after both grandparents and my dad were gone.
Had my father known-being that he was born July 1, 1942 he suspected it-he would have hated his parents for it.
My dad was a patriot-but my grandparents were not.

annoyinglittletwerp on December 7, 2011 at 11:00 AM

I refuse to go to Google after they commemorated the invention of the Rubik’s Cube on 6 June rather than D-Day. Has anyone been there to see if they are acknowledging Pearl Harbor Day?

Dexter_Alarius on December 7, 2011 at 9:32 AM

No, apparently Google has chosen not to remember Pearl Harbor Day, therefore I went to Bing and they had a beautiful picture of the USS Arizona memorial.

Thanks, Ed, for the fitting tribute…

StarLady on December 7, 2011 at 11:17 AM

My dad had to wait until 1944 when he turned 17 to join the Navy. He ended up serving 4 years, all in the Pacific. It’s hard to imagine many teenagers today itching to get to the minimum age when they can run down to the recruiters office.

Dexter_Alarius on December 7, 2011 at 11:24 AM

conservative pilgrim on December 7, 2011 at 8:46 AM

Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is portrayed at the end of the movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!” as saying after his attack on Pearl Harbor, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” The supposed quotation was abbreviated in the more recent “Pearl Harbor” movie where he merely says, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant.”

However, it has never been verified or proven that he actually said those words, or any facsimile thereof, and the quote has long since been attributed to the Hollywood writer’s typical “Artistic License”.

SD Tom on December 7, 2011 at 11:26 AM

If it is a date that will live in infamy, how come the mainstream media usually ignores this event totally? Sure, with a milestone year there will probably be more coverage in 2011 but what about next year?

I had the opportunity to attend a Pearl Harbor commemorative dinner on Sunday where there were several survivors honored. There are fewer and fewer of them to honor. I’ve got to wonder how significant this day will be deemed by future generations who seem more fixated on the Kardashians or sexy vampires than on something that happened 70 years ago. It’s really quite sad.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2011 at 11:27 AM

My grandfather Ron Lozonne, was on the tender U.S.S Hawaii and his ship “died if fright” while docked against one of the Battleships.
He was 17 and didn’t realize they were under attack until the bombs actually hit, although he could clearly see the Japanese markings on the planes, he thought it was a joke.
Still around too, Living in Sun City California,
Just my little bit,
Bob

Bobnormal on December 7, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Scott Johnson at Power Line has a followup today on a disturbing story he’s been following over the past year, namely the way the history of December 7th and the war it triggered are being rewritten by the Left:

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/12/pearl-harbor-day-at-the-neh.php

excerpt:

In July 2010 the National Endowment for the Humanities sponsored a workshop for college professors at the East-West Center, University of Hawaii. The title of the conference was “History and Commemoration: The Legacies of the Pacific War.” As one of the 25 American scholars chosen to attend the workshop, Professor Penelope Blake anticipated an opportunity to visit hallowed sites such as Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial and the Punchbowl Cemetery and engage with scholars who share her interest in studying this often neglected part of World War II history. Instead, Professor Blake was treated to the most disturbing experience of her academic career, a conference which she found to be driven by an overt political bias and a blatant anti-American agenda.

Read the whole thing.

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2011 at 11:36 AM

I just finished reading “Unbroken” which is the amazing story of Louie Zamperini’s survival after being stranded in the pacific. He amazingly survived only to be captured by the Japanese and set to multiple POW camps. The book was a real eye opener and I was appalled to read about the treatment of American POW’s in camps like Ofuna and Naoetsu. I doubt that many in my generation know much if anything about what happened there.

Also, it’s just a true testament to God that servicemen like Louie were (or are) able to forgive those that tortured them. That surpasses all my understanding. I don’t think I would be capable of that – on my own.

Free Indeed on December 7, 2011 at 11:41 AM

I tried to impress the seriousness and momentousness of this day upon my 9 year old son this morning while watching some morning shows covering the attack so long ago and far away. We must continue to try, hope, and pray that we are able to pass along the lessons of our grandfathers and fathers to the following generations. Sometimes it seems like they are not listening, but deep down they are listening and will remember as well.

TheTownsman on December 7, 2011 at 11:56 AM

A great way to commemorate the attack on Pearl Harbor is to sign a petition to name a USN ship after one of its heros, the late LT John Finn. John was a Chief Aviation Ordnanceman at the time of the attack at Kaneohe Bay and single-handedly engaged Japanese fighters with a machine gun, entirely exposed to enemy fire. He sustained something like 25 wounds.

I met John at a Pearl Harbor commemoration a few years ago. He was an amazing guy. Down to earth, a man who wore his MOH with honor and humility. There is no more deserving man of having a ship named after him

http://blog.usni.org/2010/06/01/petition-to-name-a-ship-after-lt-john-w-finn-usn/

The URL goes to a blog article and in the article is a link to the petition.

NavyMustang on December 7, 2011 at 12:02 PM

Allowed to happen by FDR.

alteredbeat on December 7, 2011 at 12:10 PM

There was a Chief Warrant Officer assigned to the Navy training command when I went through Officer Candidate School in 1983. He had been on active duty since 1941, when he had joined the Navy at the age of 17. He survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, where he had been for 8 days on 7 December 1941.

He retired while my class was in training. Amazingly, his division officer from his first command in 1941 was able to be there and speak at his ceremony. The DIVO was only 4 years older than his former sailor, but of course, that divide had seemed huge back in 1941.

The CWO had a son who had been in the Navy, the riverine warfare service, in Vietnam. His grandson was in JROTC and planned to be a Marine.

We had to stand in formation at the drop of a hat at OCS, sometimes for 2 hours at a time. You can bet that the CWO’s retirement was one ceremony we were honored to do it for.

J.E. Dyer on December 7, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Please support the USS Missouri

http://www.ussmissouri.com/

This afternoon (Eastern Time) from 5:00 to 5:45 PM, there will be a huge mass band performance on the ship. The following bands will take part:

• Acadiana High School Band from Lafayette, Louisiana
• Downriver Community Band from Wyandotte, Michigan
• Lakeview Centennial High School Band from Garland, Texas
• Lathrop High School Band from Fairbanks, Alaska
• Kilgore College Rangerettes from Kilgore, Texas
• New Philadelphia High School Marching Quaker Band from New Philadelphia, Ohio
• North Vermillion High School Band from Maurice, Louisiana
• Payson Longhorn Marching Band from Pine, Arizona
• Pride of Erath High School Band from Erath, Louisiana
• Ripley Junior Senior High School Band from Ripley, Oklahoma
• Riverview High School Band from Sarasota, Florida
• Sussex Technical High School Band from Georgetown, Delaware

You will be able to watch the live stream at this link

http://www.channel808.tv/

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2011 at 12:26 PM

http://www.bing.com

http://www.google.com

Notice the difference today…anyone?

SgtSVJones on December 7, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is portrayed at the end of the movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!” as saying after his attack on Pearl Harbor, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” The supposed quotation was abbreviated in the more recent “Pearl Harbor” movie where he merely says, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant.”

However, it has never been verified or proven that he actually said those words, or any facsimile thereof, and the quote has long since been attributed to the Hollywood writer’s typical “Artistic License”.

SD Tom on December 7, 2011 at 11:26 AM

A more verifiable quote, in many ways the same, from Yamamoto:

A military man can scarcely pride himself on having ‘smitten a sleeping enemy’; it is more a matter of shame, simply, for the one smitten. I would rather you made your appraisal after seeing what the enemy does, since it is certain that, angered and outraged, he will soon launch a determined counterattack.”

fiatboomer on December 7, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2011 at 12:26 PM

The Missouri is a great monument and museum and is fully deserving of support. I participated in a re-enlistment there in 2003 and it was a fantastic experience.

fiatboomer on December 7, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Looks like Google forgot about it again this year! Bing remembered. Choose accordingly.

GaryInTex on December 7, 2011 at 12:37 PM

http://www.bing.com

http://www.google.com

Notice the difference today…anyone?

SgtSVJones on December 7, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Yup, I noticed that too. Another reason why I stopped using Google.

NavyMustang on December 7, 2011 at 12:37 PM

God Bless all our WWII veterans. This country owes them so much.

jqc1970 on December 7, 2011 at 12:38 PM

I just set up “Remember Pearl Harbor” Pic from the forties. A painting of a tattered flag over smoke and flames.
And a picture of the burning Arizona in my store. Do it every year. Always gets positive comments. Then there was the poll that said that 82% percent of the Japanese have a positive view of the US. Ironic that we are popular with the defeated enemy and disliked by most of our “Allies”.

Kerbouchard on December 7, 2011 at 12:50 PM

We learned nothing from this infamous day.

Sasha and Malia’s school serves Japanese food today…purely “coincidentally”.

Schadenfreude on December 7, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Pearl Harbor was and is proof that you can never rely on logic to predict what your enemies will do. You prepare for what they CAN do. Logically, Pearl Harbor was suicide for the Japanese military. They should never have expected it to help their longterm position, but they did.

RBMN on December 7, 2011 at 8:49 AM

They made some bad judgement calls-such as assuming all of the aircraft carriers would be in port at the time of the attacks (they weren’t).

Also, they inexplicably failed to bomb the huge tank farm next to the harbor.

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Del, those mistakes would still be considered ‘tactical’ errors…RBMN is correct. The attack was a huge Strategic miscalculation.

SwabJockey on December 7, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2011 at 12:26 PM

The Missouri is a great monument and museum and is fully deserving of support. I participated in a re-enlistment there in 2003 and it was a fantastic experience.

fiatboomer on December 7, 2011 at 12:33 PM

As I said earlier I was there the same year. The “deluxe” tour takes you way way down into the bowels of the ship. They issue you a hard hat and flashlight before you venture down! They have a Facebook page, BTW.

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2011 at 1:48 PM

They made some bad judgement calls-such as assuming all of the aircraft carriers would be in port at the time of the attacks (they weren’t).

Also, they inexplicably failed to bomb the huge tank farm next to the harbor.

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Del, those mistakes would still be considered ‘tactical’ errors…RBMN is correct. The attack was a huge Strategic miscalculation.

SwabJockey on December 7, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Well, destroying the carriers was one of the main Japanese objectives; in other words it was one of the major part of their strategy.

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Please support the USS Missouri

http://www.ussmissouri.com/

This afternoon (Eastern Time) from 5:00 to 5:45 PM, there will be a huge mass band performance on the ship. The following bands will take part:

Acadiana High School Band from Lafayette, Louisiana
• Downriver Community Band from Wyandotte, Michigan
• Lakeview Centennial High School Band from Garland, Texas
• Lathrop High School Band from Fairbanks, Alaska
• Kilgore College Rangerettes from Kilgore, Texas
• New Philadelphia High School Marching Quaker Band from New Philadelphia, Ohio
North Vermillion High School Band from Maurice, Louisiana
• Payson Longhorn Marching Band from Pine, Arizona
Pride of Erath High School Band from Erath, Louisiana
• Ripley Junior Senior High School Band from Ripley, Oklahoma
• Riverview High School Band from Sarasota, Florida
• Sussex Technical High School Band from Georgetown, Delaware

You will be able to watch the live stream at this link

http://www.channel808.tv/

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2011 at 12:26 PM

I’m proud to say that three of these high schools are within 10 miles of where I live. We do respect our veterans down here, and what a great opportunity for these Cajun kids! :-)

cane_loader on December 7, 2011 at 3:23 PM

My uncle was below deck on the USS Tennessee and in his skivvies when
Pearl Harbor was attacked. He survived by running barefoot across the fiery deck but burned his soles off. My mother traveled from upstate NY to California and cared for her brother during 2 years of rehab. She then joined the Waves. She met my Dad, Navy CPO in the Pacific theater, back in NY after the war. I proudly tell folks that my Mom and Dad were Naval WWII vets. I will never forget their service to our country.

olde forester on December 7, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Well, destroying the carriers was one of the main Japanese objectives; in other words it was one of the major part of their strategy.

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Well the miscalculations began a long way back from that point. The Japanese began to go down the wrong road when the Army won the battle for control of the government during the struggles of the 20′s, instead of the Navy. The Army was insular and xenophobic and at times downright primitive in its outlook while the Navy was far more worldly and modern. As a result, the Army officers who mattered could stay comfortable in their bigotry and cultural isolation to the point where they could assume that the corrupt westerners would never be able to stomach the casualties required to retake the Pacific after the Japanese grabbed it and fortified it’s “Island Bastions”. The Navy, especially the officers who’d served at American and European posts like Yamamoto, knew better.
Even the Navy, with all its modernity and worldliness, wasn’t up to the job either. They’d learned their fleet strategy from Mahan and came from a small island country, so they saw their role as a powerful raiding force rather than one of a global instrument to project power like the Americans became.
As a result of all these things, the object of the Pearl Harbor attack was the fleet rather than the base, and as a result they left untouched the yards and drydocks that allowed us to quickly rebuild and refit in relative safety with a forward base of incalculable value.
And of course, the most devastating miscalculation of all was that they simply could not imagine, in their wildest moments, the shear scale upon which America could wage war. The numbers, as we look back upon those years are simply staggering and when you remember that all of it was doubled on the other side of the world as well, it’s almost beggars the imagination.

Lew on December 7, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is portrayed at the end of the movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!” as saying after his attack on Pearl Harbor, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” The supposed quotation was abbreviated in the more recent “Pearl Harbor” movie where he merely says, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant.”

As I understand the historical record, the quote is not from Yamamoto himself but from a diary entry a few days later, when he learned of the delayed notification at the State Department. “We had hoped to deal the enemy a decisive blow, but I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve”.

Lew on December 7, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Del, can’t add much to what Lew said (I respect you two from the CQ days:)

Probably just picking nits…but I think the attack on PH was a flawed Grand Strategy. Sure they wanted the flat tops. But when they didn’t get them, that was still a tactical error/failure. Even if they would have hit the carriers and fuel dumps (tactical successes that would have strategic impact) since the stragey was flawed, it would not have enabled them to “win” the war. No matter how much more successful the surprise attack would have been, they were still doomed for the reasons Lew pointed out.

Of course as they say, hindsight is 20/20 and amatuers talk tactics while the pros talk about logistics.

A strategy that did not include the suprise attack would have been much more effective in maintaining the ground/resources they had already won.

SwabJockey on December 7, 2011 at 4:39 PM

If a few things would have went differently in the Battle of Midway, like:

* Japanese aircraft radio breaking when spotting the American fleet
* Japanese would have not rearmed there aircraft for land attack instead of carrier to carrier fighting
* If our aircraft wasn’t so disorangized while attack the Japanese carriers. The disorganization help the US dive bombers.

We narrowly avoided another Dark Age…

Oil Can on December 7, 2011 at 4:48 PM

Thx Swabby. As you can probably tell, I spent some of my misspent youth on a few steel decks as well, and since I’ve also been a student of history for about as long as I can remember, I’ve done an almost unhealthy amount of reading on the subject.
I also remember my own trip to Pearl, and I can honestly say without the slightest embarrassment that I never really believed in ghosts until that day. Standing silent on the pier looking across that tiny harbor at Battleship Row on a quiet Sunday morning, the hair on your whole body stands up and the echoes of screaming engines and booming explosions comes creeping into your brain. And from that second on, for the rest of your life, you will never be quite the same as you were before.
That day shaped America for the rest of the 20th century, in a thousand quiet and subtle ways we don’t even comprehend yet, and it quietly reshapes anyone who ever goes there and stands on that shore.

Lew on December 7, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Lew, I had a simiar experience when I was a young LT. The squadron had us cross deck to a different DD so we had to wait for her to get there from SanDog. We we got “stuck” in the islands for almost a month. I was fortunate enough that in addition to the visit to the BBs I was able to do a couple SeaHawk flights in the area. I still get the knot-in-throat thinking about the view from the air.

Hope you have time to do more posts, shipmate!

SwabJockey on December 7, 2011 at 5:32 PM

In his epic 1991 book about oil, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power, New York: Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-671-79932-0, author Daniel Yergin wrote the following in Chapter 16, at p. 325 – 327:
. . .
The One Mistake

The waiting was over. Japan and the United States were now at war. But Pearl Harbor was not the main Japanese target. Hawaii was but one piece of a massive, [326] far-flung military onslaught. In the same hours as the attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the Japanese were bombing and blockading Hong Kong, bombing Singapore, bombing the Philippines, bombarding the islands of Wake and Guam, taking over Thailand, invading Malaya on the way to Singapore – and preparing to invade the East Indies. The operation against Pearl Harbor was meant to protect the flank -– to safeguard the Japanese invasion of the Indies and the rest of Southeast Asia by incapacitation the American fleet, and, thereafter, to protect the sea lanes, particularly the tanker routes from Sumatra and Borneo to the home islands. The primary target of this huge campaign remained the oil fields of the East Indies.

Thus, Operation Hawaii was essential to Japan’s larger vision. And a critical element in its success – luck – had been with the Japanese attackers right up to the last moment. Indeed, the Japanese far exceeded their own ambitions. The extent of the surprise and the incapacity of American defenses at Pearl Harbor were both much greater than the Japanese had anticipated. In their attack on Pearl Harbor, two waves of Japanese aircraft succeeded in sinking, capsizing, or severely damaging eight battleships, three light cruisers, three destroyers, and four auxiliary craft. Hundreds of American planes were destroyed or damaged. And 2,335 American servicemen and 68 were killed. All this added up to, perhaps, the most devastating shock in American history. The American aircraft carriers survived only because they happened to be out on missions at sea. The Japanese lost a total of only twenty-nine planes. Admiral Yamamoto’s gamble had paid off handsomely.

Yamamoto himself might well have taken one more chance, but he was thousands of miles away, monitoring events from his flagship, off Japan. The commander of the Hawaiian task force, Chuichi Nagamo, was a far more cautious man; indeed, he had actually opposed the entire operation. Now, despite the entreaties of his emboldened officers and much to their chagrin, he did not want to send warplanes back to Hawaii, for a third wave, to attack the repair facilities and the oil tanks at Pearl. His luck had been so enormous that he did not want to take more risks. And that, along with the sparing of the aircraft carriers, was America’s only piece of good fortune on that day of devastation.

In the course of planning the operation, Admiral Yamamoto has observed that the great mistake in Japan’s surprise attack against the Russians at Port Arthur in 1904 was in not being “thoroughgoing” enough. The same mistake was made once again at Pearl Harbor. Oil had been central to Japan’s decision to go to war. Yet the Japanese forgot about oil – at least in one crucial dimension — when it came to planning Operation Hawaii. Yamamoto and his colleagues, who had endlessly reviewed America’s preponderant position in oil, all failed to grasp the significance of the supplies on the island of Oahu. An assault on those supplies was not included in their plans.

It was a strategic mistake with momentous reverberations. Every barrel of oil in Hawaii had been transported from the mainland. If the Japanese planes had knocked out the Pacific Fleet’s fuel reserves and the tanks in which they were stored at Pearl Harbor, they would have immobilized every ship of the American Pacific Fleet, and not just those they actually destroyed. New petroleum supplies [327] would only have been available from California, thousands of miles away. “All of the oil for the Fleet was in surface tanks at the time of Pearl Harbor,” Admiral Chester Nimitz, who became Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, was later to say. “We had about 4 ½ million barrels of oil out there and all of it was vulnerable to .50 caliber bullets. Had the Japanese destroyed the oil,” he added, “it would have prolonged the war another two years.” 26

[Daniel Yergin’s footnote #26 sources for this section of his Chapter 16 were as follows: Hoyt, "Japan's War," pp. 236, 246; Anderson, "Standard Vacuum," p. 132; Prange, "At Dawn We Slept," pp. 405, 539; Agawa, "Yamamoto," pp. 261-265; and Prange, "Verdict of History," p. 566 (Nimitz).]

Trochilus on December 7, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Never suckerpunch a sleeping giant.

profitsbeard on December 7, 2011 at 7:21 PM

Or in the words of Nicolo Macheavelli, “Never wound a Prince!”

Lew on December 7, 2011 at 7:39 PM