Tyson and Billy Architects

70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day

On Dec. 8, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt started his famous speech:

"Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives: Yesterday, Dec. 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."

Mercury News Media Center
A scrapbook and old photographs of Gordon Van Hauser in the Portola Valley, Calif., home of his son, Gregory. (Gary Reyes/ Staff)

Dec. 7, 1941: The United States naval base at Pearl Harbor is attacked by Japanese planes launched from six aircraft carriers. Four U.S. battleships are sunk, and four others damaged. Over 2,400 Americans are killed, including 1,177 on the battleship Arizona.

LA Times' Framework
Forefront: battleship West Virginia sunk and burning. Background: the battleship Tennessee.

Japanese losses were light, 29 aircraft destroyed, five midget subs lost, 64 killed and one midget sub sailor captured.

Chicago Tribune & the National Park Service
Sailors stand amongst the wrecked airplanes at Ford Island Naval Air Station. Battleship Shaw exploding in the background.

In my research I found so many moving interviews, but this one stood to me as being very poignant:

The Chicago Tribune interview, quotes Pearl Harbor survivor, Navy veteran Lou Gore saying: "I'm grateful to still be alive. So many lost their lives for no reason. ... I wish I had been able to save more" (lives), he said.

A powerful conviction to still be wishing after 70 years.

During the attack Gore, a crewman to the USS Phoenix, took to the anti-aircraft guns. He remembers this moment saying: "We didn't know what was happening. I just did my job."

The USS Phoenix shown below as it steams past the burning battleships Arizona and West Virginia as it takes to sea.

LA Time's Framework

I was grieved to find a article in the NY Times stating:

" The 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack will be the last one marked by the survivors’ association. With a concession to the reality of time — of age, of deteriorating health and death — the association will disband on Dec. 31."

NY Times
Emerie Aresenaul, front, with other Pearl Harbor survivors.

The article also quotes Bernard Comito, of Dalton, Ohio, saying: “You have an organization that doesn't replenish itself. We don't get new members.”

Andrew Spear for The New York Times, Bernard Comito above

This makes me so incredibly sad. The reality that we are losing our living history through these men daily. Indeed, I had a difficult time finding articles from mainstream news yesterday and today. The small blip this landmark anniversary generated bewilders me.

Mercury News Media Center
A portrait of John Tait from his time aboard the cruiser U.S.S. St. Louis. (Karl Mondon/Staff) 

As the granddaughter of a WWII marine who served in the Pacific Theater following the events of Pearl Harbor -  this is a day I will always remember and endeavor to help others do so as well.

Mercury News Media Center
John Tait, 91, of Concord, will be returning to Hawaii to observe the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. (Karl Mondon/Staff)

From the NY Times interview Harry R. Kerr, the director of the Southeast chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors' Association remarks:

“I was talking in a school two years ago, and I was being introduced by a male teacher, and he said, ‘Mr. Kerr will be talking about Pearl Harbor,’ ” said Mr. Kerr. “And one of these little girls said, ‘Pearl Harbor? Who is she?’

“Can you imagine?” he said.

LA Times' Framework
A haunting image of our flag flying in the forefront while the USS California burns in the background.

To the brave men and women who pause today to remember this day first hand …

Mercury News Media Center
Gordon Van Hauser (far left) with fellow Marines at Pearl Harbor in early 1941. (Photo courtesy of Gregory Van Hauser)

… to you we owe a debt of gratitude for your brave actions that day and the days that followed.  We will always endeavor to remember.

Mercury News Media Center
Ed Silveira, 90, recounts his Pearl Harbor experiences during an interview aboard the USS Hornet in Alameda, Calif., Dec. 2, 2011. (Kristopher Skinner/Staff)

I hope you have a opportunity today to visit the below article links and photo galleries.

~ Kelly

Photo credits and information from this post belongs to …

Mercury News Media Center article by Bruce Newman and Images

Los Angeles Times Picture Gallery: Framework

NY Times article by Adam Nagour

The Chicago Tribune article by Suzanne Roig and Reuters

Not directly quoted or referenced in this post but a moving collection of images from The Chicago Tribune  - Pictures: Remembering Pearl Harbor

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