Pearl Harbor--Recalling the day of infamy

Hollywood, MD - The 76th anniversary of the day Pearl Harbor was bombed recalls a significant page in nation’s 20th century history books. The web site History.Com lists the statistics—Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941 at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii Time, 360 Japanese warplanes descended into the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. Fifteen ships were sunk, among them huge battleships; 200 aircraft were destroyed, 2,400 Americans were killed and another 1,200 were wounded. At the time of the attack the United States’ three aircraft carriers were out at sea on training maneuvers.

Closer to home, according to Preservation Maryland, four Marylanders died aboard to USS Arizona while St. Mary’s County native Albert Eugene Hayden was killed on land during the attack. Last year, Hayden was re-interred in St. Mary’s County.

In an interview with CNN, former Chicago Daily News reporter and University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication Val Lauder recalled listening with her parents to the radio reports Dec. 7, 1941. At the time Lauder was a high school senior. “War was nothing new but it was always somewhere else, somebody else.” Lauder stated that the next day at school, a male student stated, “America has never lost a war.” Hearing this, an American history teacher reminded students, “neither has Japan.” That day students listened in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech urging a declaration of war before a joint session of Congress. The president referred to Dec. 7, 1941 as “a date which will live in infamy.” Several years later, while visiting the National Archives in Washington, DC, Lauder saw the type text of FDR’s and saw he had penciled out the word “history” and replaced it with “infamy.” Historians said FDR made the last-minute edit to emphasize the heinousness of the attack.

Referring to the iconic memorial in Pearl Harbor, Lauder added these stark observations. “The USS Arizona may be a beautiful memorial today,” she said. “But 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and Marines killed on the USS Arizona that Sunday are entombed below its decks. And, each day, up to nine quarts of oil rise to the surface from the submerged wreckage. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘tears of the Arizona,’ or ‘black tears.’ "

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