December 7, 1941

President Roosevelt was in the process of appealing to Emperor Hirohito asking him to use his influence and power to avert war, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Pear Harbor was a United States base in Hawaii, and 2,403 American soldiers, sailors, and civilians died that day, 80 years ago. At the same time, Japan bombed Guam, Midway, and two British bases in Hong Kong and Singapore. Shortly after, Japan declared war on the United States.

On December 8th, the next day, Roosevelt asked for a declaration of war on Japan and the Senate vote was in favor and the House approved 388-1. Jeanette Rankin, the first woman elected to the House was the single vote.

Shortly after, Germany and Italy also declared war with the U.S.

Lots of interesting things happened during this war. 100,000 Japanese-Americans were removed from their homes and placed into camps in Utah, Colorado, and Arkansas-many joined the U.S. Army. General Benjamin O. Davis became the first black general in the U.S. Air Force, and the first black cadet to graduate from West Point. In 1942, an oil refinery in California was destroyed by a Japanese submarine; this was the only attack in the United States, but there was a real threat of Germany attacking from the Atlantic. There were coastal blackouts along the eastern seaboard because of that threat.

The draft age was lowered to 18, and coffee, meat, and gasoline joined the list of rationed items. The first atom bomb was successfully detonated in secret in New Mexico, and less than a month later it was dropped on Hiroshima killing almost a third of the population and destroying 98% of city buildings. Three days later, the second atom bomb was dropped on Japan in Nagasaki.

Most of the fighting happened in the Pacific and Europe, and although there was no official count for how many people lost their lives during the war years, the estimated number was 50 million. They say it was the deadliest war in history.

On this day, Tuesday, December 7, 2021, it is the 80-year anniversary since the Pearl Harbor bombing, and I’d like to thank all the remaining survivors and deceased soldiers who fought to protect the United States during WWII; my grandfather included.