Pearl Harbor: Remember the historic day December 7, 1941, when nearly 2,400 Americans were killed

Today marks exactly the 77th year from the day Pearl Harbor was attacked. It was a move that compelled the United States to partake in World War II.

Without warning, Japanese forces sent war airplanes and submarines to bomb the American navy based in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

The move resulted in the death of 2,335 Americans and the injury of over 1,000. The day after the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared war against Japan.

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Roosevelt's words forever live on:

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

The United States then joined the Allies on December 11 to fight against Germany and Italy. Meanwhile, Japan also attacked the Philippines, Guam, and Wake Island. 

Other important figures have continued to speak about the unforgettable battle:

Joe Baca said:

“Pearl Harbor caused our nation to wholeheartedly commit to winning World War II, changing the course of our nation's history and the world's future.”

Japan had not sent a declaration of war prior to the attack, leading to charges of war crimes in the 1947 Tokyo Trial. 

The attack consisted of 353 Imperial aircraft from Japan. These bombed five battleships among 18 U.S. Navy ships.

A memorial site built by the USS Arizona receives over two million visitors annually. 

Some years ago, former President Barack Obama remembered those who were lost in the attack:

"Seventy years ago today, a bright Sunday morning was darkened by the unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor…We salute the veterans and survivors of Pearl Harbor who inspire us still. Despite overwhelming odds, they fought back heroically, inspiring our nation and putting us on the path to victory."

One of those heroes was Johan van Hulst, who worked as a teacher in Amsterdam in 1942. Across the street from his college, young Jewish children were in a nursery school.

They were placed there before deportation to death camps. Van Hulst saved hundreds of those children's lives by having them get into laundry baskets and moving them to safe locations.

Van Hulst died on March 22, 2018, but he is remembered by the descendants of the estimated 600 children who he saved in World War II. He was 107 when he passed.

With "Pearl Harbor Day," the nation will always remember those like van Hulst and others who put their lives at risk or gave their lives during World War II.

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