Today is December 7 and we remember that fateful day 79 years ago.
Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands was a quiet place as the sun rose on that beautiful Sunday morning of 1941. The base was peaceful, but that peace was about to be shattered.
Among the thousands of American sailors stationed at Pearl Harbor on that Sunday morning, many of them would never live to see another sunrise. Among the many ships on Battleship Row was the battleship USS Oklahoma (BB-37). The crew had been preparing for an inspection, which was to take place on the morning of Monday, December 8. As a result, many doors and hatches were wide open on that fateful day.
Little did the crew know that as dawn broke, a Japanese air armada was hurtling toward them. The Japanese had planned on giving their declaration of war 30 minutes before the attack began. But due to the slowness of their code machines and typists, the message didn’t get to Washington until the attack was over. The first wave of the Japanese attack force swept over Pearl Harbor at 7:48 a.m. and achieved complete surprise. Not only had the battleships been parked in a row at anchor along Ford Island, but the American fighters on Hickam Field had been parked wingtip to wingtip.