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Posted at 7:43 AM ET, 12/ 7/2010

♪♫ December 7, 1941: A day that will live in infamy

By Melissa Bell
Pearl Harbor
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt (Jerry Shoemaker/Mobile Register/AP)

On Dec. 8, 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt stood up before Congress and delivered a fiery speech condemning the attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Base the day before. Within one hour, Congress passed a formal declaration of war, ushering the U.S. into the second World War.

Tuesday marks the 69th anniversary of the day the Japanese navy attacked the base, killing 2,403 people, destroying 188 planes and damaging 8 battleships.

Read about the remaining members of the Pearl Harbor survivor group here.

By Melissa Bell  | December 7, 2010; 7:43 AM ET
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Comments

Is this all the coverage that pearl harbor day is going to get? Two paragraphs and a couple of youtube videos? Dec. 7th 1941 is the day the greatest generation became the greatest generation. It was also the day that america found itself on a path to be the sole democratic "superpower"for the next 60 years.[ we still are a superpower arn't we?] Why is american exceptionalism something to be ashamed of?

Posted by: Rightthinkingkindofguy | December 7, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I agree about the disappointment in how much coverage Pearl Harbor Day got - our veterans deserve more recognition.

As far as the exceptionalism thing, maybe when we stop elevating people like Cantor, Gingrich, Boehner, Rangell, Huckabee, Palin, Beck, etc to positions of power we might be able to achieve some exceptional things. Maybe when we as a country get out of the mire of partisanship we will be able to achieve exceptional things. Resting on your laurels is not exceptional. Asking what your country can do for you is not exceptional. Ignoring what our oil dependence does to our economy and national security is not exceptional. Pretending that homosexuals are bad people is not exceptional. Fighting occupying wars to instill American culture where it isn't wanted is not exceptional. Decreasing taxes and increasing spending is not exceptional. Declaring that your goal as a legislator is to drag the country down for two more years so your team can win elections next cycle is not exceptional. In the midst of all this, saying "Why is American exceptionalism something to be ashamed of?" is not exceptional.

Posted by: msw13 | December 7, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

This was the generation of my father and my uncles in war. Are they all to be forgotten? I think not. These men are what gave today's generation the freedoms we all have. Pearl Harbor should be required reading and study in schools. You ask some people what Pearl Harbor is and they don't have a clue. It's shameful, if you live in the United States.

Posted by: wilson0004 | December 7, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Rest in peace, bothers and sisters.

Posted by: jckdoors | December 7, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Is this all the coverage that pearl harbor day is going to get? Two paragraphs and a couple of youtube videos? Dec. 7th 1941 is the day the greatest generation became the greatest generation. It was also the day that america found itself on a path to be the sole democratic "superpower"for the next 60 years.[ we still are a superpower arn't we?] Why is american exceptionalism something to be ashamed of?

Posted by: Rightthinkingkindofguy | December 7, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse


Because the heirs to that kind of service, sacrifice and commitment now demand that American exceptionalism take care of them with tax cuts, free benefits, free medical care, safety and security, and in return they want to watch Fox, wrap themselves in the flag, and call themselves exceptional Americans.

Posted by: Bridge3263 | December 7, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I am surprised that the Washington Post with all of it's staff could not find one to write a decent piece about Pearl Harbor Day. A missed opportunity by the Post to inform it's younger readers and remind the rest of us how the world changed on that day.

Posted by: shutoz | December 7, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey msw13,
Do even know what you are talking about when you talk about "American exceptionalism? I'd really like to know.
The German's thought they were so exceptional that they sent 10 million people who weren't to the ovens. We kidnapped hundreds of thousands of Africans because we were exceptional and they weren't.

The genocide of those who greeted Columbus is justified because we are exceptional and they weren't. WE had God on our side.

So exactly what is it you are trying to claim when invoking "American exceptionalism?"

Posted by: wildcat1 | December 7, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

My father was stationed at Pearl Harbor on this day 69 years ago. A few minutes before the attack he decided not to take a Junk out to Ford Island. He survived. Later in the Pacific war he was the first skipper of the the fleet tug USS Zuni

http://www.zunitamaroa.org/zuni.html

which is now the only US Navy ship still afloat that took part in the invasion of Iwo Jima:

http://www.zunitamaroa.org/zuni02.html

The Zuni went over to the US Coast Guard after WWII and served almost 50 years as the USCGC Tamaroa protecting the coasts and shipping of the US. This is their restoration project:

http://www.zunitamaroa.org/index.html

I grew up with Pearl Harbor and the Zuni as part of the background for my life, and I, too, find it unfortunate that only a couple paragraphs are now devoted to remembering this extraordinary surprise attack and the war that followed especially the Battle at Midway. I'm even more concerned about what all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice would think about what has happened to the democracy that they defended so those who came along afterwards wouldn't have to go to war again like this.

Posted by: garydchance | December 7, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Wapo for remembering Pearl Harbor Day... you seem to be the only Newspaper that has really covered the story from that most terrible day in history.

Thank You.

Posted by: strycharz7494 | December 7, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

A few years ago I noticed that there were TWO PAGES in my son's History text on World War II - he was a High School Junior. I was LIVID!!
I have made it my "public service" to tell the story of World War II in every place and in every way I can.
My Dad was a Bombardier with the Mighty 8th Air Force. He refused to speak about it until my boy was about 8 and asked that question: "Were you a hero in the War, Grandpa?" "No, Timmy, the heroes didn't come home."
He then launched into story after story-some good, some bad, some horrific. My Mother and I were dumbstruck. He continued to tell his stories for the rest of his life and I will honor his service for the rest of mine. I learned he had a cousin entombed in The Arizona! My son will continue it as he already is. He never fails to take an opportunity to tell friends and strangers what his Grandpa did in THE War. As a 3rd Grader he was the hit of a field trip to our Senior Citizen Center. He took his Grandpa's medals, photos, etc. and knew the circumstances under which they were awarded. He's gone back, at their request, every year since. They were thrilled that this little munchkin knew THEIR story about THEIR War. Now a part-time College student and a full-time worker working his way through College, he plans to join the Air Force when he's ready - as an Officer - in honor of my Dad.
It is the responsibility, and honor, of OUR generation that no one ever forgets what my parents and all the members of that "Greatest Generation" did for this Nation and the world as a whole. (They hated that term-sorry Brokaw... they were just doing what they had to do - win a war that HAD to be won.)
Per then Secretary William Cohen at the opening of the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans: "We are the heirs of your sacrifice, and we can only stand here in awe of your courage."
For Ruth and John, ordinary Americans who did extraordinary things...

Posted by: 34thBombGroup | December 7, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Pearl Harbor -- and our greatest generation -- assuredly deserved more remembrance than this. There are kids today who are sadly ignorant (or misinformed) about Pearl Harbor -- who have no idea of the sacrifice, or the freedoms they take for granted, or disparage.

Posted by: wmpowellfan | December 7, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

"American Exceptionalism". Art, image. http://www.flickr.com/photos/cainandtoddbenson/3530242190/

Posted by: nuggerb | December 9, 2010 4:07 AM | Report abuse

"American Exceptionalism". Art, image.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cainandtoddbenson/3530242190/

Posted by: nuggerb | December 9, 2010 4:09 AM | Report abuse

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