Dec. 7, 1941 is a “date which will live in infamy” as Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and six additional military bases on the Hawaiian island of Oahu launched the United States into the second world war. The surprise strike resulted in the destroying of more than 150 planes, the damage of fifteen ships, and the loss of over 2,300 lives.
As a swift reaction to the unforeseen attack, Hawaii was put under martial law, causing schools to close, mail to be censored, and food and fuel to be rationed. Most importantly, during this period of rising “Anti-Japanese” paranoia, 127,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were forced into detentions centers and internment camps as what we, as Americans, now reflect on as being one of the most overt violations of civil liberties in American history.
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who planned the attack, attended Harvard University and rigorously studied the life and legacies of Abraham Lincoln.
Now seventy-five years after the attack, it is important to honor and remember both living and deceased veterans. According to the Pearl Harbor’s Seventy-Fifth Anniversary website, “Pearl Harbor endures as a symbol of American resilience and resolve, and the annual commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor fosters reflection, remembrance, and understanding.”
The website also states that “A key focus of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor will be a brighter future in our relationship with Japan and the celebration of 71 years of peace between us.” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Dec. 5 that he will visit Pearl Harbor in late December with President Barack Obama. He will be the first Japanese leader to visit the site since the end of World War II. This visit presumably comes as an attempt to continue building American-Japanese relations.
By remembering the events and aftermath of Pearl Harbor, we can attempt to keep history from repeating itself as we continue to build strong and beneficial international relations with foreign leaders and countries.