Seventy years ago today it happened. Japan attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Early Sunday morning, December 7th, 1941, planes with the rising sun on them bombed, torpedoed and strafed the ships and airfield. 2402 people died that day and 1282 were injured. The next day Congress had declared war on Japan and The United States was involved in World War II. President Roosevelt referred to this as “a date which will live in infamy”.
When the attack began, Guy Piper, 91, of Springfield was on Ford Island and saw torpedoes being dropped into the water by Japanese planes. Some of these sank the U.S.S. Arizona. He is at Pearl Harbor today with a group of ten students from College of the Ozarks, his brother, Parke, and two Pearl Harbor veterans. The group will also travel to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan before returning on the 15th. The College of the Ozarks was started as a Christian College and continues to support many Christian principles.
The trip is part of the Patriotic Travel Education Program that C of O has provided since 2009. The purpose is to team students with veterans and provide an opportunity for them to learn from the veterans at the site of their service. The youngest veterans are in their 80’s and this program is to record the stories before they are lost.
The seventieth anniversary of the attack has been remembered today by many. Others were surprised to be reminded that the attack was on this date. We must continue to remember December 7th as that infamous day, just as we recall September 11th, 2001. Pearl Harbor is the 9/11 of our parents and grandparents. Think of what it will be like in sixty years, when we remember the seventieth anniversary of that tragic day. We must not forget either day.