July 20, 2024

PEARL HARBOR — Today is the anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor – an attack that launched the U.S. into World War II. “Operation Z,” planned by Japanese Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto, was a surprise attack on the giant Navy and Army bases in Hawaii in attempt to knock the U.S. out long enough for the Japanese forces to shore up their Pacific and Asian defenses and force a negotiated settlement. Two waves of 353 warplanes launched from six Japanese Navy aircraft carriers killed more than 2,400 Americans and wounded about 1,280 and sank or damaged all of the U.S. Navy battleships at Pearl Harbor. Ironically, the strike strengthened the U.S. position because it forced the U.S. Navy to use its aircraft carriers, which proved to be a revolutionary development in the waging of the war. The attack was a huge shock to the American people, who were strongly isolationist. President Franklin Roosevelt’s speech to Congress requesting a declaration of war included the famous phrase “day that will live in infamy.” Previously to Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt had been conducting a secret war against Germany, and the Germans and Italians’ declaration of war on the U.S. in support of the Japanese allowed Roosevelt to openly take on the Nazis. Among area veterans who were at Pearl Harbor – the late Don Anderson of Ottawa and the late Don Wilson of Overbrook.
Tuesday, Dec. 7, 8:30 a.m.

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