From every tragedy throughout history, there was a lesson to be learned. While it may be hidden beneath the sorrow and devastation, the message is there for future generations to learn from. When it comes to the attack on Pearl Harbor, it’s easy to get lost in the fact that over 2,400 Americans lost their lives during the attack and many more were killed after America joined the war, but it’s important not to overlook what can be learned from this tragic event.
As you learn more and more about the December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the more you start to see what lessons we can pull from Japan’s sneak attack.
The Unthinkable Can Happen
When everybody woke up that Sunday morning in December, there was no indication that they would be thrust into battle. Even though a war raged on in Europe, the United States had little reason to believe an attack would occur on their territory. During times of turmoil, it’s imperative to be diligent and consider all possibilities, even if there doesn’t appear to be an immediate threat.
Resource Utilization is a Life Saver
It is widely believed that some US officials knew that Pearl Harbor was a potential target for attack. Even more shocking than that is that a Japanese spy had been able to live amongst local residents for a period of time leading up to the attack
During a time of war, though the U.S. was not directly involved, any and all resources should be used to ensure the country’s safety. Some people believe that the United States could have utilized its intelligence better prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, possibly diminishing the damage and lives lost, if not stopping the attack altogether.
Since Pearl Harbor, intelligence review methods have improved greatly, though more recent history has shown that there’s quite a bit of improvement still needed.
It’s a lesson learned from every tragic event: the more united we stand, the better off we will be. After Pearl Harbor, the country came together to assist in a war effort that it once vehemently opposed. While Japan thought they were crippling the United States, impeding its ability to join the war in the Pacific, the attack only served to inflame Americans and instigate one of the biggest war efforts in US history.
In that unity, the United States—along with the other Allied forces—emerged victorious.
Though the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred over 75 years ago, it’s never too late to take something away from it. To see what lessons you learn, visit the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor, on the island of Oahu. The multiple exhibits and memorials bring you back to that day, engrossing you in the events that unfolded at about 0800 on December 7th, 1941.
It’s never too late to learn something new, so keep an open mind and embark on a trek through the history of Pearl Harbor.