Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: Fly the American flag at half staff Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010 | SierraSun.com
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Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: Fly the American flag at half staff Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010

Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE and#8212; The Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor was one of the great defining moments in history. It is often referred to as and#8220;The Day that will live in Infamy.and#8221; In one carefully planned and well executed stroke the Japanese Empire removed the United States Navyand#8217;s battleship force as a possible threat and propelled the United States into the Second World War as a full combatant.

By late November 1941, with peace negotiations clearly approaching an end, informed U.S. officials fully expected a Japanese attack into the Indies, Malaya and probably the Philippines. Completely unanticipated was the prospect that Japan would attack east as well.

On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, the incoming Japanese attack planes were detected by radar and reported, but were mistaken for an incoming group of American planes due from the mainland. While on practice maneuvers outside the harbor that morning, an American destroyer spotted a Japanese submarine attempting to sneak into the harbor. The submarine was fired upon, immediately reported and ignored.

About 360 Japanese attack planes had launched at dawn from aircraft carriers in an attack force of about 33 ships. At 7:55 a.m. the first bombs and torpedoes were dropped. After two hours, the U.S. sustained 18 ships sunk or severely damaged, about 170 aircraft destroyed, and there were more than 3,000 casualties. Japanese casualties were minimal.

On Dec. 7, all U.S. flags at federal, state and public facilities in the United States will be flown at half-staff, in commemoration of the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. This historic day will allow all Americans to remember the infamous attack by Japanese forces on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, as well as celebrate the valor and dedication shown by a brave generation of Americans during the World War II. December 7, 1941, according to U.S. Navy Chief Admiral Michael G. Mullen, was and#8220;not just a day of infamy, but in many ways it was a day of discovery for America and for the world. It changed us, it hurt us, but it also made us stronger, as did Sept. 11.and#8221;

The U.S. Congress, according to Public Law 103 308, has officially designated the seventh day of December as the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. On this solemn occasion, the nation pays homage to the perseverance and heroism shown by many in the face of extremely overwhelming odds. This holiday allows the nation to commemorate the sacrifices made by the valiant members of the US Armed Forces, as well as to celebrate the victory over the forces of fascism, oppression and isolationism. This day also bodes well for igniting the patriotic spirit in each of us.

and#8212; Submitted to aedgett@sierrasun.com


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