My Blog

The morning news this morning reminded me that on December 7th, 1941 (82 years ago) the Empire of Japan launched a sneak attack of 177 airplanes from four aircraft carriers on the American Pacific fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The knowledge of the attack wasn’t new to me. What was news to me is that they no longer teach the history of Pearl Harbor in schools as if the loss of 2300 service personnel and the sacrifices of World War Two is no longer worth remembering with honor. I remember them, honor their memory here, and provide some history for those who were never taught.

The United States was at odds with Japan as early as 1902 when Japan began its expansionism into China. Japan has a singular problem never experienced by the United States. Japan is a tiny island with limited resources and the incredible arrogance to believe they have the rights to other country’s property. Beginning in the early 1900s, Japan began to feel the pinch of its growing population. They eyed all the land to their west in China and invaded the backward country of peasants and farmers with little resistance or loss. For those military fanatics, this is the approximate era when a group of American aviators went to China to battle the Japanese air force. They were known as the Flying Tigers. The United States objected to expansionism but was an ocean away in a time without the internet or computers. We could do little other than restrict our trade of resources Japan needed like coal and oil. These restrictions did little to stop the Chinese invasion, and only led to the militant leaders taking control of Japan’s views toward the U.S. Things only worsened in the 1920s and 30s until the Japanese militants swayed the Emperor that the United States was an enemy of Japan restricting their growth. The next step was war without negotiation on December 7th 1941. The 177 bombers, torpedo planes, and fighter escorts hit Pearl Harbor on a Sunday at 7:55 am when most ship crews were preparing for their day. It was another perfect day in Hawaii when the attack struck without warning killing 2300 unsuspecting sailors and launching the United States into World War Two. The American populace answered the challenge by signing up to fill the ranks of the military. This generation of men is known as the greatest generation ever for their effort and sacrifice. The Japanese paid the price for their treachery. All four aircraft carriers that launched the attack force, most the attacking planes and their pilots were lost at the battle of Midway the following June. Then the war in the Pacific ended after we dropped two atomic bombs on Japan.
I could add extensive commentary regarding how I feel about what is being taught in schools today, but I’ll leave it at I will always honor the casualties and survivors of December 7,1941.