‘A Date Which Will Live in Infamy’: Remembering Pearl Harbor

Government Book Talk

Battleship USS Arizona on fire and sinking (Image sources: archives.gov) Battleship USS Arizona on fire and sinking (Image source: archives.gov)

Moments before 8 a.m. on December 7, 1941, the United States was ‘suddenly and deliberately attacked.’ Hundreds of Japanese fighter planes and bombers launched a surprise assault on American soil at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The volley on the U.S. naval base was swift and devastating: 2,403 Americans were killed, and another 1,178 were wounded; American battleships sunk; other ships irreparably damaged; and almost 200 U.S. aircraft were destroyed.

President Roosevelt delivers his "Day of Infamy" speech to a joint session of Congress on December 8, 1941. (Image source: archives.gov) President Roosevelt delivers his “Day of Infamy” speech to a joint session of Congress on December 8, 1941. (Image source: archives.gov)

The next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to formally declare war against Imperial Japan. It was then that Roosevelt spoke those famous words, proclaiming December 7, 1941 “a date which will live in infamy.” America had finally joined WWII. That momentous week of loss and defiance took place seventy-four…

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