Take time amidst holiday preparations to pause and remember that 69 years ago, today, a single catastrophic event pushed the U.S. into World War II with a terrible loss of human life. Sunday, December 7, 1941 at 7:55 a.m. on a clear morning, 183 Japanese warplanes attacked and demolished the U.S. Pacific fleet docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Over 3,500 Americans were killed or wounded in 2 waves of attacks that lasted 2 hours and damaged or destroyed 350 aircraft; 8 battleships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were sunk or badly damaged - including the U.S.S. Arizona. The attacks also sank or damaged 3 cruisers, 3 destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship and a minelayer.
A day later, December 8, Americans listened on radio as U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his Date of Infamy speech (excerpts here):
I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the People when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us . . .
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941 a state of War has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.
33 minutes later Congress declared war on Japan.