Every year, as the attack on Pearl Harbor recedes further into history, it’s imperative that we don’t let the memory of the attack slip away. Memorials, commemorations, museum galleries – they all work together to help us remember that devastating day in 1941, the moment in American history that was pegged as a “Date which will live in infamy.”
Some may wonder why we are so intent on looking back more than three-quarters of a century, reliving one of the worst days in American history. Of course we don’t ever want to forget the valiant efforts of the heroes of the United States armed forces, the men and women who found themselves under enemy fire on the morning of December 7th, but there’s more to it than that.
We’ve all heard the adage, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it,” and it’s a major factor in the urgency of Pearl Harbor remembrance. The attack on Pearl Harbor, a surprise assault masterminded and carried out by the Japanese, taught us to be vigilant as a country. Signs that an attack from the west was imminent were there, and many believe we didn’t do all we could have to prevent it from happening.
Even though it occurred over 75 years ago, so long as we remember it, we can analyze it, look through the events of that day and leading up to it to determine what could have been done differently, and learn from any potential mistakes. Where could we have been more diligent? Were there signs that were ignored? Was it possibly just a lack of the proper technology or information?
The answers to these questions may hold the key to preventing another attack, and those answers may still be hidden within the history of Pearl Harbor.
The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument serves as one of the most complete collections of Pearl Harbor information and artifacts and is a major draw for tourism. For every visitor who walks through the exhibits, stands over the sunken wreckage of the USS Arizona, and hears of the trials and tribulations of that Sunday morning, the story of Pearl Harbor is bound to be passed down and survive the test of time. Hopefully, at some point that knowledge will prevent a similar event from occurring.
Through a series of exhibit galleries, museums, and memorials, the national monument retells the events of that morning, detailing specifically the lead-up to the attack, the losses incurred, and the aftermath that rocked the nation and had a part in changing the world.
From the Arizona Memorial to the collection of artifacts within the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center, these are the ways we remember, and these are the ways we work with one another to avert a repeat of December 7th, 1941, the day Japan launched a massive assault on the unsuspecting Pearl Harbor.