December 7, 1941

“A date which will live in infamy.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Growing up in the United States we are taught all about the attack at Pearl Harbor in history classes. We know just before 8am on December 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii.

In just two hours the Japanese destroyed 20 American naval vessels, including 8 battleships, and 300+ airplanes. More than 2,000 Americans soldiers and sailors lost their lives in the attack with another 1,000 wounded. We know this led to President Franklin D. Roosevelt declaring war on Japan. America joined World War II.

Seeing Pearl Harbor in person

Today, December 7th, is a day to remember. With tragic events in US history, like September 11th, I always take a moment to reflect on the anniversary. There is only so much you can read in a book and be taught in school. When I was in Honolulu, Hawaii last month I went to Pearl Harbor.

I saw the very spot the attacks happened. I stood over the USS Arizona, the final resting place for many of the ship’s crewmen. Over 900 men are entombed within the ship. You can still see the oil around the ship that coats the surface of the surrounding water. Standing there I tried to imagine what that day must have been like. The best words I can use to describe that moment are somber, powerful, emotional and silent.


The 184-foot-long USS Arizona Memorial structure spans the mid-portion of the sunken battleship. It provides a place for remembrance + reflection and serves as a hopeful symbol of peace.

Something to think about

In the United States we learn about both sides of Pearl Harbor in history classes but that isn’t the case in Japan. At Pearl Harbor I noticed many asian youth visiting the USS Arizona, watching the videos and reading about the history. Our guide mentioned something I hadn’t thought about… many were just learning about what actually happened as they visited the memorial.

I think this is important to think about regarding today’s generation in other countries. They are living today, just like you and I, and shouldn’t be judged for what happened before their time. It does not excuse the tragic events that have happened. We can all only learn and grow from it though, and hopefully make the world a better place moving forward.

What do you think? Has anyone visited Pearl Harbor? Growing up in Washington, D.C. I have been fortunate to see many historical sites and important memorials… Pearl Harbor is another I think everyone should see in person at least once.

Today’s tidbit
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” ― Dalai Lama