80 Years Later – Things You Didn’t Know About Pearl Harbor
One day, many years ago, this country suffered a surprise attack from a foreign force. About 3,000 lives were lost, and America was never the same.
Some of you who are younger might think I'm talking about September 11, 2001.
But, before there was 9/11, our parents and grandparents experienced the surprise attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 80 years ago - December 7, 1941.
If you're any student of history, you know the story.
The United States had managed to avoid being drawn into World War II, which had begun a little over two years before in Europe.
But Japan, after much sabre rattling in the Pacific, surprised the U.S. Pacific Fleet by attacking Pearl Harbor about 8 a.m. on that Sunday morning.
When the smoke cleared, about 20 naval vessels and over 300 airplanes had been damaged or destroyed, 2,400 Americans were dead and another 1,000 were wounded.
In a 2015 article in the Huffington Post, they listed some things you may not have known about Pearl Harbor:
1. Most of the battleships that were sunk that day were resurrected. Of the eight battleships sunk, six were repaired and reused. Only the Arizona and the Utah were never raised.
2. Veterans of the attack have the option of being laid to rest at Pearl Harbor. Although not many survivors of the attack are still living, those who are have the option of having their ashes deposited by divers under one of the gun turrets of the USS Arizona. This was the subject of an episode of the TV show NCIS a couple of years ago.
3. The Arizona still leaks fuel. It had just been refueled and had about 1.5 million gallons of fuel on board at the time of the attack. Even 80 years later, some fuel continues to seep out of the wreckage - about nine quarts of oil a day.
4. The Pearl Harbor Memorial is a popular destination for Japanese tourists. Ironically, the Japanese visit the memorial in droves. The U.S. and Japan are now staunch allies, and Japan is Hawaii's biggest source of international tourists.
5. A baby girl's remains wound up on a sunken battleship. A crew member of the USS Utah had been keeping an urn with his daughter's ashes with him to be scattered at sea. But he went down with the Utah, and the ashes of the girl, who had died at birth, remain with the ship.