From Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Lindsay A. Preston, Naval History and Heritage Command
A Sailor from Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) helped honor those lost in the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor 77 years ago by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, Dec. 7.
Yeoman 2nd Class Keeana Hodges, a native of Chicago, Ill., said she felt honored and humbled to be able to lay the wreath and salute those who fell in the Japanese attack which brought the U.S. into World War II.
"To honor the lives of those we lost during the attack on Pearl Harbor is an honor itself,” said Hodges. “My small token of gratitude doesn't measure to the ultimate sacrifice the veterans displayed on December 7th of 1941. I remember not only the true cost of freedom but what is means to be a Sailor to this great nation."
At exactly noon, visitors got to observe the changing of the Guard. This time honored tradition is carried out hourly by “the Old Guard” U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Regiment. Immediately following the change, Hodges and a member of the Naval Order of the United States laid the wreath before the Tomb. Afterwards, military personnel present saluted while civilians had their hands over their hearts as the U.S. Army's Old Guard played taps. The Naval Order of the United States sponsored the ceremony.
Captain John Rodgaard, USN (Ret.), also a member of the Naval Order of the United States shared that he was pleased that so many active duty military members were in attendance.
“I am thankful that each and every one of you made it out to this ceremony today,” said Rodgaard. We are especially grateful to have a member of the American Legion here with us today, as he traveled all the way from Ireland to be a part of this remembrance.”
It was 6 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941, when six Japanese carriers launched a first wave of 181 planes composed of torpedo bombers, dive bombers, horizontal bombers and fighters toward Hawaii. The Japanese aircrews achieved complete surprise when they hit American ships and military installations on Oahu shortly before 8 a.m. More than 90 ships were anchored in Pearl Harbor, but the Japanese's primary targets were the eight battleships anchored there. Seven were moored on Battleship Row along the southeast shore of Ford Island while the USS Pennsylvania (BB 38) lay in dry dock across the channel.
The attack ended shortly before 10 a.m., less than two hours after it began, and the American forces paid a heavy price. Twenty-one ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were sunk or damaged, 188 aircraft destroyed and 159 damaged, the majority hit before they had a chance to take off. American dead numbered more than 2,000 with more than 1,000 military and civilian wounded. The attack which horrified a nation was the catalyst that brought America into World War II.
The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy's unique and enduring contributions through our nation's history, and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.
For more news from Naval History and Heritage Command, visit www.history.navy.mil.
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