December 7, A Date Which Will Live in Infamy
Each year, December 7 marks the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the moment that plunged the reluctant United States into a world-changing war. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed it a “date which will live in infamy.” Eighty years later, even as memories fade, it remains that today.
1. The attack began at 7:55 a.m. on Sunday, December 7, 1941.
2. The attack lasted from 7:55 a.m. until 9:45 a.m.
3. The Japanese launched their airplanes in two waves approximately 45 minutes apart.
4. The Japanese traveled 3,400 miles across the Pacific.
5. Plans for a surprise attack against the United States began as early as January of 1941.
6. The Japanese fleet consisted of 353 planes.
7. The Japanese specifically chose to attack on a Sunday because they believed Americans would be more relaxed and less alert.
8. Many U.S. servicemen were either still in their pajamas or eating breakfast in the mess halls when the attack on Pearl Harbor began.
9. U.S. servicemen identified the invading planes as Japanese because of the large, red circle (the Rising Sun) on the side of Japanese planes.
10. The Japanese only attacked the ships at Pearl Harbor Naval base and airplanes at Hickman Airfield.
11. The United States aircraft carriers, the primary target of the attack, were not at the base at the time, which led to the Japanese cancelling a planned second attack.
12. There were eight battleships at Pearl Harbor that day, and all U.S. battleships were either sunk or damaged during the attack.
13. All but two ships were eventually able to return to active duty.
14. The USS Arizona exploded when a bomb hit the ammunition room. Approximately 1,100 U.S. servicemen died on board.
15. To aid their airplanes, the Japanese sent in five midget subs to help target the battleships.
16. 188 U.S. planes were destroyed.
17. 2,343 men were killed, 1,272 were wounded, and 960 were listed as missing. 68 civilians were also killed and 35 were wounded.
18. The Japanese lost 65 men, and one soldier was captured.
19. Only 29 Japanese planes were shot down.
20. The United States declared war on Japan the next day as FDR gave his famous “Day of Infamy” speech to Congress.
21. The United States declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941, the day following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
22. “Remember Pearl Harbor!” became a rallying cry for the U.S. during World War II.