The attack was planned by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. The attack began at 7:55 AM and lasted one hundred and ten minutes. The Japanese planes came in two waves. Military and civilians killed were 2402. There were 1282 wounded. The bulk of the American Fleet, which was stationed at Pearl, was sunk or damaged. It is believed that the Japanese did not realize what serious blow they had dealt to the US military. It marked our entry into a war in which over 60 million people world-wide would lose their lives or 2.5 percent of the world's population. This is why we remember this day and the lives given.
I've stood on the Pearl Memorial above the Arizona. One cannot not describe the feeling, the power, of the place unless you've been there. Too often thought of as a tourist destination, when you are there, looking down at the remains of the great ship where a 1,117 lost their lives, you realize that it is so much more. The students I was with, knew that too. It is another reason why we recall this day.
There are about 1.5 million of the 16 million soldiers who served in World War II alive today. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, about 700 of them die a day and by the year 2036 there will be no more left. This is another reason we should remember this day.
History is, some fear, slipping away. In one survey, less than half of the high school seniors could answer the question as to why we remember December 7, 1941. As we remember September 11, we need to remember the fallen of December 7. It is time that remember and remind our youth that for our freedoms, many have paid great prices. Whether it was those who died in war, in terrorist attacks, were wrongfully imprisoned as were the American Japanese, or those who spoke up and risked all when it was not popular to do so, this day is a reminder of the consequences of action.
This is why we remember Pearl Harbor Day.