EDITOR'S NOTE: Thursday, of course, is Pearl Harbor Day. On December 7, 1941, at just before 8 a.m., the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor relentlessly for two hours. It was an attack that launched the U.S. into World War II almost immediately. WTVA's Mike Russell takes a brief look back at that day of infamy.
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - Much like 9/11, the attack on Pearl Harbor inflicted deep wounds on Americans. That attack happened 76 years ago Thursday, and and the number of survivors still with us is dwindling. But...the memories persist.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise, and it was brutal. Before the smoke cleared, thousands had died and 12 American ships had been sunk or damaged . The day after the attack, President Roosevelt delivered his famous day of infamy speech, 33 minutes later we were at war with Japan.
"I think of all the people that lost their lives, and all the families that were changed," says Janet Reich, visiting from Louisana. "And I also think of all the dedication and loyalty that we had as a country back then."
Ed Barrett from Saltillo saw it all that fateful day from his artillery position. He died in 2012, but not before sitting for an interview in 2008. He was 21 at the time of the attack.
"Eight battleships had [been] punctured them -- and the oil was all over Pearl Harbor," says Barrett. "And they was on fire, and I thought it was the end of the world, I tell you that. I had never seen anything like that. The Japanese, of course, really caught us blindfolded - right - we weren't paying attention to what was going on - we thought we were too big and powerful, they couldn't bother us -- but they showed us what they could do."
So, the memory of that horrific attack lives on. So does the memory of those who died at Pearl Harbor. It is a somber memory, and yet a reminder of the strength America reached deep for to fight WWII for the greater good.