On the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, let us remember those that died in the sneak attack.
We should also remember those veterans that survived the attack on it as well as those who enlisted in response to the attack. My Uncle John Sheridan was a freshman in college. He and a bunch of his friends skipped class on December 8, 1941 and joined the Navy. While most of his war was spent stateside, he finished WWII aboard the USS Bennington CV-20 as an ETM 3rd Class. Unlike many who enlisted that day, he survived the war, eventually got married, raised three sons, and passed away in 2008 at the age of 83.
My father’s draft papers from October 1940 say he was drafted for Army service in the “Hawaiian Department”. This was one of the War Department’s pre-WWII overseas units. As it was, my father never served in Hawaii but was assigned to what became the Caribbean Defense Command.
The generation that actually served in Pearl Harbor on that fateful day are rapidly passing away. The Pearl Harbor Veterans Survivors Associations estimates that only 2,700 veterans who served there that day are still alive out of the original 60,000 sailors, soldiers, and airmen stationed there on December 7th. 100 of these survivors will attend the ceremonies in Hawaii today.
For a good selection of pictures from Japanese and US Naval Archives, go here.
UPDATE: The Pearl Harbor Veterans Survivors Association will shut down at the end of this year according to a story in the New York Times. It is actually rather sad that what the Japanese Navy couldn’t do, the ravages of time will do.
UPDATE II: Bitter at Shall Not Be Questioned has some nice pictures from Pearl Harbor as well as links to actual AP news bulletins from Dec. 7, 1941.