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Pearl Harbor, a day that remains in 'infamy'

Lexington Park, MD - The 77th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is today and it serves as a time to remember the 2,403 sailors and civilians lost during the event that helped propel the U.S. into World War II.

History.com details the events of that dreadful day. Around 8 a.m,, Japanese planes filled the sky over the harbor, catching the Navy and U.S. intelligence off-guard. Just 10 minutes later, a bomb began penetrating the USS Arizona’s hull. The almost 13-million-dollar ship exploded and sank, taking a thousand men with her.

Not long after, the USS Oklahoma went down with 400 sailors. The less than two-hour-long attack caused every ship in the harbor to sustain “significant damage.” The USS Arizona, Oklahoma, California, West Virginia, Utah, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Nevada were all in the harbor during the attack. All but the USS Arizona and USS Utah were able to be salvaged or repaired. The Arizona and Utah remain at the bottom of the harbor, serving as a memorial to those who served and died on them.

Among those lost was a St. Mary’s County resident who was not initially identified and wasn't returned to his family until 2016. Chief Petty Officer Albert Hayden was serving on the USS Oklahoma. Following the attack, many soldiers were unable to be identified and laid to rest in unmarked graves in Hawaii. In 2015 the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, through a partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs began identifying these bodies and contacting living family members, finally providing closure for some.

On April 27 of this year, Clarence J. M. Davis passed away. The 94-year-old California, MD resident served in the Navy from 1941 until 1960. Davis' first assignment out of boot camp was radioman aboard a repair ship in Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack. Luckily for Davis and his shipmates, his ship was moored on the opposite side of Ford Island at the time of the attack. The Enterprise reported at the time of his death that Davis was the last living member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Maryland Chapter.

The World War II memorial in Washington, DC will commemorate those lost during Pearl Harbor and WWII at 12:53 p.m. on Dec. 7. Twenty WWII veterans and Pearl Harbor survivors will lay wreaths at the Freedom Wall. Also in attendance will be Redskins owner Bruce Allen who will participate in the wreath-laying ceremony.

Contact Jerold at staffwriter@thebaynet.com.

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