The surprise attack on American naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii, was one of the most devastating incidents in history. The bombardment lasted for two hours and resulted in the death of more than 2,000 Americans and left another 1,000 injured. The Japanese managed to destroy nearly 20 American naval vessels and more than 300 airplanes. Though America had avoided the conflict for more than two years, the attack on Pearl Harbor forced America to finally join World War II.
Below, we have collected seven facts about the Pearl Harbor, that you might not be aware of.
1. Two battleships were resurrected from the bottom of the ocean.
During the surprise attack, the Japanese managed to destroy 20 American naval vessels, among which eight of them were enormous battleships. Six of the ships were repaired and returned to the U.S. Navy’s fleet, but two of them; the USS West Virginia and the USS California had both sunk completely. They were both raised, repaired and rejoined the fleet on July 1944.
To this day, the bullet holes and damages caused by the bombs dropped on them can be spotted at the active military installations on Oahu. Rather than covering up the holes, the scars are left as a reminder of the precious lives lost that day and serves as a motivation for our military.
2. The Veterans who survived the attack can be laid to rest at Pearl Harbor.
The surviving Veterans are given the chance to join their lost comrades and make Pearl Harbor their final resting place. USS Arizona suffered the most devastating damage during the attack and the crew members on board at the time of the attack were given the choice to have their ashes deposited by divers beneath one of the sunken gun turrets.
Less than a dozen of the 355 survivors from USS Arizona are still alive today and only about 30 of them chose to have their ashes deposited beneath the sunken gun turrets. Other survivors are also given the option to have their ashes scattered on the location of their ships, during the time of the attack.
3. The USS Arizona still leaks oil to this day.
Before the attack took place, the USS Arizona engulfed a full load of fuel which is an astounding 1.5 million gallons. The high quantity of fuel was the reason for the explosion and subsequent fires that destroyed the ship. Amazingly, to this day, 9 quarts of oil from the wreckage seeps out each day, as if the ship was still bleeding.
4. The 2013 government shutdown didn’t stop the service members stationed in Hawaii from taking care of the memorial.
The Pearl Harbor is treated as a living memorial by service members stationed in Hawaii and they never fail to show their respect. When the U.S. government shut down for more than two weeks in October 2013, service members rallied around the memorial as no one was around to take care of it. The service members and their families showed respect to those who sacrificed their lives for us, by raking, weeding and mowing the overgrown grass in the abandoned site. Their message to all surviving Veterans was,
“We haven’t forgotten about you. We will not forget about you.”