December 7, 2021, marked the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attacks on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The surprise attacks, coined as the “date which will live in infamy,” killed 2,400 Americans and wounded 1,700 more, and led to the U.S. entering World War II.
Officially known as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, it honors those who lost their lives during the attack. This year’s celebration theme was Valor, Sacrifice, and Peace.
On the early Sunday morning of December 7, 1941, the Japanese air force slipped in quietly over Oahu at 7:55 a.m. to bombard the U.S. air and navy fleet stationed on the island. The raid destroyed four battleships and damaged four more in just two hours.
Most of the fatalities occurred in the U.S.S. Arizona when a 1760-pound bomb struck its gunpowder store causing a massive explosion. A memorial is built directly over the spot where the ship lies at the bottom of the harbor to honor the 1,777 lives that were lost there.
Several years ago, the Missouri Catholic Conference interviewed retired Navy Chief Corpsman Bill McAnany of Jefferson City, one of the few remaining survivors of Pearl Harbor. Check out his inspiring story!