Photo: Wikipedia Commons
There are few things spectacular as an early Sunday morning on a South Pacific Island.For the boys serving the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 the sun had a quality like nothing they’d ever seen, big, loose, and orange — but inviting — filling the air with a lurid appeal they just assumed was homesickness.
Not yet 8 a.m. and softball teams were lining up on the beach. Pitchers warmed up their arms, while batting rosters were finalised and the wives and kids came over from seaside church services.
Stealing a moment to take it all in proved a sight impossible to forget and not a man there who lent himself to the idea, didn’t think the same thing. It was perfect.
Not unfamiliar with the narcotic effects of a tropical Sunday morning or American habits, the Japanese thought the morning perfect as well and for hours had been barreling the better part of their naval fleet and air forces across the Pacific and toward Pearl Harbor.
There, tied off like a string of pearls, draped gently across the docks and waterfront was the lion’s share of America’s naval might.
The still dreamy hour of 8 a.m. local time saw the first wave of Japanese forces bear down and devastate everything in sight. Amid the carnage, tragedy and loss that came to define the ensuing hours of that day, two things happened.
First, the United States came together and beat back one of the most evil forces the world had ever seen. The second thing that happened was the country promised itself it would never, ever forget that morning.
To that end we offer these original photographs from Pearl that morning so that you too can help ‘never forget’.
Japanese Navy Type 99 Carrier Bombers prepare to take off from an aircraft carrier during the morning of 7 December 1941.
Aerial view of the initial blows struck against American ships as seen from a Japanese plane over Pearl Harbor.
View of the airfield at Naval Air Station, Ford Island and flames from burning ships in the background taken during the Japanese attack.
A Japanese bomber on a run over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii is shown during the surprise attack of Dec. 7, 1941. Black smoke rises from American ships in the harbor.
Photo from a captured Japanese aircraft taken during the initial moments of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Note the Japanese aircraft visible at upper right flying over Naval Air Station Ford Island.
A Japanese dive bomber goes into its last dive as it heads toward the ground in flames after it was hit by Naval anti-aircraft fire.
Sailors at Naval Air Station Kaneohe, Hawaii, attempt to salvage a burning PBY Catalina in the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Cars that were strafed by Japanese aircraft pictured at Naval Air Station Kaneohe, Hawaii, in the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
A small boat rescues a USS West Virginia crew member from the water after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
White House reporters dash for the telephones on December 7, 1941, after they had been told by presidential press secretary Stephen T. Early that Japanese submarines and planes had just bombed the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Rescue workers help evacuate the Lunalilo High School in Honolulu after the roof of the main building was hit by a bomb during the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Oil streams from Battleship Row adjacent to Ford Island in Pearl Harbor following the Japanese attack.
Unidentified attaches of the Japanese consulate began burning papers, ledgers and other records shortly after Japan went to war against the U.S. on December 7th, 1941, in New Orleans. Police later stopped the fire after most of the papers had been destroyed.
The body of a Japanese Lieutenant who crashed during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941 is buried with military honours by U.S. troops.
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