Monday, January 7, 2008

Honoring the Legacy, Part 1.1: The Attack on Pearl Harbor

On the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, Japan launches a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

"I heard the drone of airplanes. I look up, there’s a lot of planes in the sky. Then I saw them dive-bombing, hitting the destroyers and cruisers that were only several hundred yards away from shore.

Then I looked toward the Battleship Row and saw a dive-bomber come low and drop a torpedo. I saw it explode. And the plane, instead of going up and getting hit by anti-aircraft, turned around and hugged the water surface, only a few hundred feet from it and came right toward me.

As I was looking up, the pilot was looking down at me and he had a canvas- type of helmet and great big goggles. There was a red insignia on the wings. I knew it must be a Japanese plane.” - Ronald Oba

This surprise attack prompts Congress to declare war on Japan. Hysteria runs rampant amidst charges of Japanese fifth columns and the fear of sabotage. There is a subsequent backlash against the Issei and Nisei living in Hawaii and on the mainland.

"At first I was angry. Then I was kind of ashamed that our ancestors had come. And then my parents, you could see that they were so sad, so humiliated that their ancestors would come and attack Hawaii. Later, as the FBI came around, corralling people, fear crept in. Everybody started to get scared.” - Ronald Oba

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