Pearl Harbor Day Proclaimed in California

Long Beach has a connection with the attack 71 years ago for which Gov. Jerry Brown ordered flags lowered to half-staff Friday.

On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown recognized the "Pearl Harbor Day," the surprise Dec. 7, 1941 attack by Japan that propelled America into World War II the following day. 

Survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor on the Hawaiian island of Oahu can be found in many communities and Long Beach has it's own ties to the attack. Long Beach City Council member and author Gerrie Schipske wrote in a past blog:

"In writing my two historical books on Long Beach, I found out an interesting connection between Long Beach and the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Many of the ships that were destroyed or severely damaged during the attack had been recently anchored off the coast of Long Beach.The ships included: West Virginia, Maryland, California, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Nevada, and Arizona. This means of course, that many, many families and friends in Long Beach were directly impacted by this attack -- more than other cities.

"The other impact was on the Long Beach Municipal Airport - Daugherty Field and the new terminal building that was actually scheduled to open the day of the attack. The opening ceremonies were canceled. The pastel paint was covered with camouflage paint. Military guns and soldiers were billeted around the terminal building and in the basement for the duration of the war. Showers and hot water tanks were installed for the soldiers. Barracks were built adjacent to the terminal. The building was repainted in 1945 for its real 'grand opening.'"

At 7:48 a.m. Friday, the Imperial Japanese Navy sent fighter aircraft and torpedo planes to Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, where the U.S. Pacific Fleet berthed. Two waves of attacks ensued, intended to prevent the U.S. from interfering in Japan's march into Southeast Asia.

Eight U.S. battleships were attacked as enlisted men slept or were arising to greet the day: The U.S.S. Arizona. The U.S.S. Nevada. The U.S.S. West Virginia. The U.S.S. California. The U.S.S. Oklahoma. The U.S.S. Maryland. The U.S.S. Tennessee.The U.S.S. Pennsylvania.  Four sunk. More than 2,400 lives lost, including civilians. Several more ships, destroyers, aircraft and submarines were lost.

It shook the nation and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt went to the airwaves calling it "a date which will live in infamy." 

And for decades, that was true. But as time passes, fewer and fewer World War II veterans, and their contemporaries are with us. 

What can you share about what happened at Pearl Harbor on this date, that you share with fellow Patch users? Please put them in the comments section below.

We close with Gov. Brown's proclamation:

Seventy years ago today, the Imperial Japanese Navy mounted a surprise attack on our nation’s fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii. This assault opened the struggle for control of the Pacific that would claim the lives of over 100,000 Americans. In a speech to Congress the following day, President Roosevelt gave the seventh of December, 1941, its immortal name: “a date which will live in infamy.” 

Today, while still deploring the treachery of one country attacking another without provocation, we remember with awe the valor of those who defended Pearl Harbor, and the many more who answered their country’s call in the ensuing mobilization. The 2,402 members of the armed forces who gave their lives that day will always live in our hearts as true American heroes. 

NOW THEREFORE I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim December 7, 2011, as “Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.”

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 6th day of December 2011.


— Bay City News Service contributed to this report


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