On December 7, 1941, the Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, sent this dispatch to major navy commands and fleet units.
It was the first official word of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona was destroyed, killing 1,177 officers and crew. The USS Oklahoma capsized. About 2,400 Americans were killed.
As the number of survivors of the attack—now around 2,000—dwindles, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association has elected to dissolve at the end of this year.
Now it’s even more important for those who didn’t witness the attack firsthand to preserve the memories of that day. Here are a few places to start:
- The free Interactive USS Arizona Memorial on Fold3.com lets you search for a name and leave a virtual tribute, story or photograph of a crewmember.
- National Archvies digitized records related to the Pearl Harbor attack, including military dispatches regarding the attack, photos of the aftermath and official correspondence. You also can watch the Archives’ video about US Navy deck logs, records that contain sailors’ accounts of the day’s events.
- WWII genealogy resources