Dec. 7, 1941: “A date which will live in infamy”


Today marks the 74th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, which led to war with Japan. More than 2,400 Americans were killed and nearly 1,180 injured when stealth Japanese fighters bombed and sank 12 naval vessels and heavily damaged nine others. There are few survivors left, with most in their 90’s. The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association disbanded December 2011.

The USS Arizona still lies beneath the harbor with its dead entombed. The ship sank in less than nine minutes after a 1,760-pound armor-piercing bomb penetrated its decks and exploded in the ship’s forward ammunition magazine. 1,177 sailors and marines on board were killed; 337 crew members survived.

Other major installations on Oahu, such as Wheeler Field and Kaneohe Naval Air Station, also were attacked. LIFE’s photos of the attack can be seen here. The Pearl Harbor Visitor’s Center features galleries, interactive exhibits, two movie theaters, an amphitheater and an education center.

The live streamed theme of today’s ceremony is “Pathway to Reconciliation, From Engagement to Peace.” 

For more history, visit the U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service site here and the Naval History and Heritage site here.

USS Arizona Commander Daniel J. Condon was among the survivors of the attack. A medical doctor, he later served as the Medical Examiner for Maricopa County. His sword & belt were salvaged from the ship. His sword is on display at the Arizona State Capital, and his sword belt is displayed at the University of Arizona Museum. Dr. Condon died in 1992.

View President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous “A date which will live in infamy” speech (Original Draft: page 1page 2 and page 3) and declaration of war following that unprovoked attack.


4 Responses to Dec. 7, 1941: “A date which will live in infamy”

  1. Ajo Joe says:

    The Democrat in the White House in 1941 didn’t hesitate for a moment in identifying the enemy. FDR called them by name. My dad was a Republican and a WWII vet, who admired Roosevelt’s wartime resolve though not his liberal domestic politics.

    Barack Hussein Obama, raised as a Muslim, refuses to use the words “Islamic terrorists,” and in the face of repeated attacks here and abroad where murderous Muslims cry out praise to Allah as they commit their atrocities, he tells us Islam is “a religion of peace.” This deceitful slug should have been impeached years ago.

  2. CD 8 PC says:

    Those surviving brave military personnel were stunned by this cowardly act, yet fought on and were joined by thousands of enlisting Americans from small towns to large cities and even Hollywood celebrities and famous musicians to fight and win the scourge on both the Pacific and European fronts of this World War. Can anyone imagine Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sting or Bono signing up to defend our nation?

  3. Conservative Since Birth says:

    We have been to the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor to pay our respects. Quite a moving experience. Have been to the Manzanar Japanese internment camp in CA. That was a horrendous thing that happened on December 7, 1941.

    Old Glory is out in front of our house today honoring those who died a horrific death on that day.