Honolulu, Hawaii (JFK+50) At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time 73 years ago this morning, December 7, 1941, Oahu and the city of Honolulu came under air attack by Japanese war planes.
Two waves composed of more than 350 Japanese aircraft participated in the raid in which eight American battleships were severely damaged or destroyed. 1,177 officers and men on the USS Arizona were sent to the bottom of Pearl Harbor with their ship. All tolled, more than 2000 Americans were killed with 1000 more wounded.
James Rusbridger and Eric Nave write...
"Each visitor (to the Arizona Memorial) senses he is about to enter a world where time stood still...then out along the main catwalk...they see the remains of this great battleship lying beneath the clear waters. Just a few pieces reach up out of the water...as a reminder of the death that came so treacherously that Sunday morning...."
"Some visitors...find it a numbing experience. Young and old stand there in silence gazing into the waters around the wreck, with the thin iridescent slick of fuel oil that still leaks from the tanks ruptured by Japanese bombs and torpedoes half a century ago."
USS Arizona Oil Seepage
"Yesterday, December 7th, 1941, a date which will in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."
Rusbridger and Nave remind us that the attack "was a shattering defeat for American military and political leadership." They argue that information about the coming attack "was in Washington, but no one recognized it."
Even in Honolulu a reporter wrote one month before December 7th...
"A Japanese attack on Hawaii is regarded as the most unlikely thing in the world, with one chance in a million of being successful."
"Betrayal at Pearl Harbor," by James Rusbridger and Eric Nave, Summit Books, New York, 1991.
I saw a formation of black planes diving straight into the ocean off Pearl Harbor.
The blue sky was punctured with...smoke.
I saw a rooftop fly into the air.
I was assigned to cover the emergency room of the hospital where the victims were brought.
Bombs were dropping over the city while in the morgue bodies were laid on slabs in the grotesque positions in which they had died.
There was blood...and death...in the emergency room as doctors calmly continued to treat the victims.
I had never known that blood could be so bright red.
I went to a bombed store on King Street where I often stopped for a Coke at the cool drug counter only to find it along with six others had nearly completely burned down.
Elizabeth "Betty" P. McIntosh, a reporter for the Honolulu Star Bulletin on Dec 7 1941. She wrote this "after a week of war," but her editors thought it too graphic to publish.
The complete article was published for the 1st time in 71 years on Dec. 6, 2012 in the Washington Post. Betty McIntosh worked for the OSS and CIA before retiring in Prince William County.
SOURCE: WP OPINIONS, "Honolulu After Pearl Harbor: A Report Published for the First Time, 71 Years Later," www.washingtonpost.com
JFK HEARS NEWS OF ATTACK
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) John F. Kennedy entered the United States Navy as an ensign in September 1941. Fresh out of Officer Training School, JFK was assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence here in the Nation's Capital.
On Sunday, December 7, 1941, Jack Kennedy had been enjoying one of his favorite pastimes, a pick up touch football game with his friend Lem Billings on the Mall close to the Washington Monument.
As the two young friends were returning to Jack's apartment on 16th Street, they heard the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor over their car radio.
Nigel Hamilton writes...
"(Lem) Billings was 'terribly excited.' Thick, billowing smoke rose above the Japanese embassy on Massachusetts Avenue as guilty diplomats burned their papers. Hundreds began to assemble outside the White House...wanting to know what would be the president's reaction."
John F. Kennedy could not have known then how much of an impact this event would have on his life and that of his family. He would go on to serve in the South Pacific during the coming war and narrowly escape death on the PT109.
As to the immediate impact of Pearl Harbor, Nigel Hamilton tells us that after FDR's 'Day of Infamy' address, the Office of Naval Intelligence immediately "moved into wartime gear," working "round the clock."
"A Hero For Our Time: An Intimate Story of the Kennedy Years," by Ralph G. Martin, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1983.
"Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero," by Chris Matthews, Simon and Schuster, New York, 2011.
"JFK, Reckless Youth," by Nigel Hamilton, Random House, New York, 1992.
"Remember Pearl Harbor"