December 7th… National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

A US Marine stands at attention with the USS Arizona memorial in the background on Pearl Harbor Day, the 69th anniversary of December 7, 1941.
Marco Garcia/AP

Today is the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  A day when more than 3,500 Americans were killed or wounded and the U.S. naval fleet was almost completely destroyed.  It was a devastating day in our history and the event that officially drew America into WWII.


Just before 8 on the morning of December 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii. The barrage lasted just two hours, but it was devastating: The Japanese managed to destroy nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight enormous battleships, and almost 200 airplanes. More than 2,000 Americans soldiers and sailors died in the attack, and another 1,000 were wounded. The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan; Congress approved his declaration with just one dissenting vote. Three days later, Japanese allies Germany and Italy also declared war on the United States, and again Congress reciprocated. More than two years into the conflict, America had finally joined World War II.

Elizabeth McIntosh, a reporter for the Honolulu Star Bulletin, wrote an account of what she witnessed that day and the days that followed.  But, her story was deemed too graphic for publication.  Over 70 years later, McIntosh’s story has been published.  It’s extraordinary.

From The Seattle Times,

On Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor, I was working as a reporter for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. After a week of war, I wrote a story directed at Hawaii’s women; I thought it would be useful for them to know what I had seen. It might help prepare them for what lay ahead. But my editors thought the graphic content would be too upsetting for readers and decided not to run my article. It appears here for the first time:

For seven ghastly, confused days, we have been at war. To the women of Hawaii, it has meant a total disruption of home life, a sudden acclimation to blackout nights, terrifying rumors, fear of the unknown as planes drone overhead and lorries shriek through the streets.

The seven days may stretch to seven years, and the women of Hawaii will have to accept a new routine of living. It is time, now, after the initial confusion and terror have subsided, to sum up the events of the past week, to make plans for the future.

It would be well, perhaps, to review the events of the past seven days and not minimize the horror, to better prepare for what may come again.

I have a story to tell, as a reporter, that I think the women of Hawaii should hear. I tell it because I think it may help other women in the struggle, so they will not take the past events lightly.

I reported for work immediately on Sunday morning when the first news — Oahu is being attacked — crackled over the radio, sandwiched in a church program.

Like the rest of Hawaii, I refused to believe it. All along the sunny road to town were people just coming out of church, dogs lazy in the driveways, mynas in noisy convention.

Then, from the neighborhood called Punchbowl, I saw a formation of black planes diving straight into the ocean off Pearl Harbor. The blue sky was punctured with anti-aircraft smoke puffs. Suddenly, there was a sharp whistling sound, almost over my shoulder, and below, down on School Street. I saw a rooftop fly into the air like a pasteboard movie set.

For the first time, I felt that numb terror that all of London has known for months. It is the terror of not being able to do anything but fall on your stomach and hope the bomb won’t land on you. It’s the helplessness and terror of sudden visions of a ripping sensation in your back, shrapnel coursing through your chest, total blackness, maybe death.

The vision of death became reality when I was assigned to cover the emergency room of the hospital.

The first victims of the Japanese-American war were brought there on that bright Sunday morning.

Bombs were still dropping over the city as ambulances screamed off into the heart of the destruction. The drivers were blood-sodden when they returned, with stories of streets ripped up, houses burned, twisted shrapnel and charred bodies of children.

In the morgue, the bodies were laid on slabs in the grotesque positions in which they had died. Fear contorted their faces. Their clothes were blue-black from incendiary bombs. One little girl in a red sweater, barefoot, still clutched a piece of jump-rope in her hand.

Read the rest of Elizabeth McIntosh’s story here.

God bless the brave Americans who sacrificed so much to protect our country.  And those who continue to do so today.

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  • stlview

    Assuming the picture caption came from them, the AP editors or the photographer doesn’t know the difference between a Marine at Parade Rest and a Marine at the position of Attention.

    Semper Fi


    First, we have learned nothing from recent history. I hope those that have gone before are at peace in the arms of our Lord.

    Second, I thought being ordered to stand for long periods of time was considered torture by the left and the UN…where is the outrage.

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  • carrier pigeon

    My mom served in the WAC in WWII.

    Nobody in the journalistic field writes like that anymore. Instead, they are most of them, merely the controlling, dismissive, mocking voices of the Nanny State.

  • Good chance we will hear nothing from Obama on this today, I would bet my house on it…

    But the Obama’s have bigger issue’s to contend with, like what vegetable would go well with Bo for their Christmas dinner.

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  • coolidgerules

    A 16 year old Army brat ran with her friends to help aid the hosptial in treating our finest that day. Got pieces of shrapnel in her chest.

    Sadly, grandma passed away this year. I think about her and the many souls that we lost that day. I pray that it was not in vain. God Bless the USA.

  • Steve

    We have photos from the USS Arizona and a video posted now on Common Cents…

  • jim b

    It is a given that no one with the AP knows the difference between the position of attention and the position of parade rest. I am absolutely gobsmacked that the guy who wrote this caption apparently knew the difference between a “soldier” and a “Marine”.

    That said I hesitate to call it progress.

  • Jpmn

    Soon another Zero, far more destructive to our nation will fly to Hawaii.

  • SeniorD

    An even more poignant photo would be an overhead image of the Arizona (home of some 1100 sailors and Marines) sitting on the bottom of the bay. This IS a Day of Infamy, especially since the Marxist Oval Office Occupier BOWED to the Japanese Emperor.

    Japan is now a valued ally, until ObaMOOO bows to China to overrun Japan.

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  • JKB

    I have never been disgusted with Americans except for the time I visited the ARIZONA Memorial. The revolting tourists were running around, hanging over the side having their picture taken, all on top of a grave. The Japanese (nationals) tourists on the other hand were quiet and respectful. I don’t know why I had that reaction. As a kid, I had played in Civil War battlefields and this visit to the memorial happened in the 1990s. I had the urge to start smacking people so I got on the first boat back. Never to go their again.

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  • Sasja

    JKB, we visited the Memorial in the 1980’s. Even with all the people there, it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

  • paul52

    I’ll add to JKB’s comments. I was at the memorial in 2005 and the Japanese youth who were there were extremely disrespectful. Mugging for cameras, roughhousing, laughing, running around, etc. Mostly teenagers and tweens. The older Japanese tourists were visibly embarrassed. The memorial visit is a long day, but so worth it.

  • Flintstone F.

    One of the most important and fateful days in American history. God bless the generation that saved the world.

    USS Arizona:

    (Remember when Obama tried to apologize to Japan for the atomic bombs?)

  • Robert Lindsay
  • bg


    Thank You,

    We Shall Never Forget..


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  • DANEgerus

    If Pearl Harbor happened today Obama would apologize for our ships getting in the way of the Emperor’s torpedoes.

  • Arch

    On Memorial Day 1961, 250 people were invited to the dedication of USS Arizona Memorial by Admiral Harry D. Felt, Commander in Chief Pacific. Hawaii’s governor, senators and representatives were all there as were the Mayors of Honolulu and Pearl City. Never have I ever seen more flag officers in one place, many of whom (including CINCPAC) were in Pearl on December 7th, 1941. One of the most junior officers there was my stepfather, a Lieutenant Commander on COMSERVPAC staff, who fought in the Pacific. There was not a dry eye there.

    The youngest guest was an 18 year old civilian who rode out to the ceremony on the Admiral’s barge. I had received an appointment to the US Naval Academy.