“December 7, 1941 – A date which will live in infamy…”
Seventy-five years ago, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Within two hours, 2,403 Americans lost their lives and 1,178 more were wounded in one of the deadliest attacks on U.S. soil. In response, the following day President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on the Empire of Japan, a member of the Axis powers. Two days later, with declarations against Germany and Italy, the U.S. formally entered World War II. Pearl Harbor will forever be remembered as a turning point in our nation's history and a defining event in our collective memory.
Learn more about this unforgettable day in the interviews below, collected by Atlanta History Center's Veterans History Project.
Thomas C. Moore (1914-2008)
Thomas “Carl” Moore, U.S. Marine Corps, was stationed at Pearl Harbor with his family the day of the attack. He received the Bronze Star and Legion of Merit for actions in World War II and Korean War. He shared with us excerpts from his wife's diary recorded on December 7, 1941, as she witnessed the attack from their home on the harbor.
Jacqueline Thiesen Kennedy (1923-2014)
Atlanta native Jacqueline Kennedy was attending Dunstan Hall Junior College in Washington, D.C. when she heard Roosevelt's announcement regarding the attack on Pearl Harbor. That weekend she and a group of friends walked by the Japanese embassy wondering what the embassy employees were burning. Jacqueline later discovered they were destroying the documents.
Denver D. Gray (1917-2013)
Denver Gray, U.S. Army Air Forces, was stationed at Hickam Field during the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor. That day he witnessed first-hand the cruelties of war.
Mack Abbott (1922-2014)
Mack Abbott was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He shared with us his memory of the moment the surprise attack began.
William H. Brotherton, Jr. (1917-2005)
William Brotherton experienced the attack on Pearl Harbor from the water while serving aboard the USS Sumner. Following the attack he was assigned to the first task force to leave Hawaii to map the islands in the Pacific.
Dr. Elbert Parr Tuttle, Jr. (1921-2012)
Elbert Tuttle first heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor while taking a leisurely drive through the hills of central New Jersey. He was attending Princeton University at the time. He went on to serve as a fighter pilot in World War II in the U.S. Marine Corps.
The Veterans History Project oral history collection contains video and audio interviews of those who served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, post 9-11 conflicts, and civilians who supported them. Atlanta History Center collects, preserves, and shares these accounts so that future generations can hear directly from veterans and better appreciate the realities of war and the sacrifices made by those who serve in uniform.
The interviews preserved at the Kenan Research Center are created in partnership with the Veterans History Project, an initiative of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center. The Atlanta History Center is a founding partner and has collected nearly 630 interviews of veterans in Metropolitan Atlanta with the invaluable assistance of the Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association.
For more information about Veterans History Project or to participate, please call 404.814.4042 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.