Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Pearl Harbor, 70th Anniversary

Seventy years ago today the Japanese Imperial Navy bombed the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. The surprise attack left almost 2,400 dead, 1,178 wounded, sank a dozen U.S. warships and destroyed 323 aircraft.

Five years ago on the 65th anniversary of Pearl Harbor I watched a PBS program about the attack. The show was enhanced with numerous interviews of survivors telling what they saw and experienced on that infamous day. I found their stories the most amazing chronicles of heroism I ever heard in my life.

On a personal note...Every Pearl Harbor Day I think of my father. He passed away a number of years ago at the year of 70. My father was born in 1920 and was 21 years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He,like so many others, joined the Navy just days after the attack. He saw heavy action in the North Atlantic aboard the USS Campbell, a Corvette warship. Corvettes were used to protect convoys as they brought supplies to troops in Europe. These fast destroyer-like ships would zigzag in front of the convoy seeking and destroying German U boats in their path. On one occasion torpedo stuck his ship damaging its engines and rudder. The ship was unable to move or maneuver. For twenty four hours the USS Campbell and its men sat like sitting ducks, motionless...but armed and ready to fight, every man fixed at his gun. In the early hours of the morning, a day later, the Campbell was finally rescued and towed to Reykjavik, Iceland where it was repaired and sent back out to continue its duties.

Days like today remind us of the special sacrifices made by Americans of that great, generation.

Below is a video from the official Pearl Harbor site titled "A Day at Pearl Harbor".

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