In less than three hours, 2,403 members of the U.S. Pacific Fleet perished under an onslaught of bombs and torpedoes. 347 planes and 18 ships were either destroyed or badly damaged. Without a doubt, the losses suffered by our country that day were colossal and tragic. Pearl Harbor should be remembered simply to celebrate the lives of those young men who died that day. But the significance of December 7th is not just a result of the number of casualties. A greater number of people died in the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, yet that event does not define us and our history as Pearl Harbor does.
The difference is that Pearl Harbor was not an accident. It was an attack. We remember Pearl Harbor today because it took place during World War II, perhaps the most monumental struggle for humanity in world history. Moreover, it was a moment that drastically altered not only the direction of the war, but possibly also its outcome. At that point in the war, Germany had already taken France and was on the verge of conquering all of Europe. We all know what Hitler and the Axis powers were capable of doing. If Pearl Harbor had not compelled the U.S. to take on a larger role in the military effort, not