Before Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was just an American Naval Base on a Hawaiian territory. But that fateful morning, it would be forever etched into the minds of citizens all over the country. Dec. 7, 1941 was a day that brought Americans together.
Only a few hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan formally declared war against the United States.
The sentiment Americans felt after the news of the attack spread is best summarized by the words of fleet Chaplain William A. Macguire: “Don’t say we buried our dead with sorrow. They died manfully. They were buried manfully. And we will avenge their deaths, come what may.”
Pearl Harbor infuriated Americans and motivated an undivided decision to enter into World War II. On Dec. 8, 1941, the United States joined the Allied Powers.
Before the events that took place at Pearl Harbor over 75 years ago, the country was divided, and not all Americans were supportive of the efforts of World War II. But after the attack, those who were skeptical began singing a different tune, and the support for the war became unanimous. The attack ensured America’s entrance into the war, provoking a joint effort by all, at home and overseas.
The States truly became United that morning over three-quarters of a century ago, and everyone had a part to play in the war efforts. Civilian employees helped to load and clean weapons, wounded men fought on, doctors from miles away rushed to tend to the wounded and when blood donations were needed, donors stood in line for almost seven hours to do their part.
The outcome of World War II may have been entirely different, had the United States not joined the Allied Powers. The United States implemented the draft and all men from age 18 to 45 were included, providing over 16 million troops to the front lines. All automobile factories in the United States stopped production of cars and began manufacturing only vehicles and planes for the war. Women went to work in factories to make war supplies, and some even joined the armed forces. Without the United States providing so many troops and supplies, the Allied Powers may not have won.
Although the attack on Dec. 7, 1941, may not be our proudest day, there are many resulting positive outcomes and effects that are too often overlooked. We can look back on this day and be proud that we live in a country where people are able to forget themselves and do whatever it takes to help each other in a time of need, and are able to unite toward a common goal. Without our combined efforts all of those years ago, we could be living in a different world today. Pearl Harbor changed the course of history, and it is on each and every 7th day of December that we reflect and say a prayer for those lost, and those who continue to defend our country to this day.