Commentary: Pearl Harbor will always live in infamy

This editorial appeared in The Macon Telegraph on Sunday, Dec. 7.

It was a bright clear Pearl Harbor day 67 years ago. It was then, as it is today, a Sunday morning. All was quiet and God seemed to be in his heaven. The Hawaiian Islands, not a state yet, were as idyllic a place as any on Earth – until shortly before 8 a.m. All hell broke loose when the first wave of 183 Japanese planes dropped out of the sky. A second wave of 171 planes would follow.

There were eight battleships, part of the Pacific Fleet, sitting much like ducks at Pearl. When the smoke and mayhem cleared 90 minutes after the carnage began, 2,386 Americans were dead or dying, and 1,139 more lay wounded. Five of the eight battleships were sunk along with 13 other ships and 188 aircraft destroyed.

From the Japanese perspective the surprise aimed to cripple our fleet was a complete success – almost. The Japanese had miscalculated and the aircraft carriers Enterprise and Lexington were at sea at the time of the attack and escaped damage. However, the most impactful Japanese miscalculation was underestimating the grit of the American people – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters. We call them "The Greatest Generation."

To read the complete editorial, visit The Macon Telegraph.