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Local man remembers Pearl Harbor attack

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By BEN DUDLEYThe Wilson Post

It was Dec. 7, 1941, “a date that will live in infamy,” said President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was an unannounced military strike conducted by the Japanese navy against the United States' naval base at Pearl Harbor on a Sunday morning, which later resulted in the U.S. becoming militarily involved in World War II. It was intended as a preventive action to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from influencing the war the Empire of Japan was planning to wage in Southeast Asia against Britain, the Netherlands and the United States.

The attack consisted of two aerial attack waves totaling 353 aircraft, launched from six Japanese aircraft carriers. The attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships (two of which were raised and returned to service later in the war) and damaged four more. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer, destroyed 188 aircraft, killed 2,402 and wounded 1,282 more.

The news was a crushing blow to the American psyche, in that a foreign country had never attacked the United States before in an unprovoked manner such as this.

One man remembers how that blow felt when he heard it those 68 years ago.

Ted Waller, 90, lives in Lebanon now after having lived in several states as a former church of Christ preacher. He recalled being a college student when he heard the news of the attack.

“I was 22 years old and a student at Abilene Christian University,” Waller said Thursday. “I was preaching that morning at a church in Lubbock, Texas, and we heard about the attack on the radio after the service.“I remember thinking, ‘Wow! We just entered the Second World War,’” Waller said. “It was a terrible blow. They sunk almost all of our ships and killed a lot of our men.”

Waller said that he didn’t remember anyone he knew personally who enlisted immediately after the attack, but he added that there was an outcry for justice from the American people for this action by Japan.

Fifty-five Japanese airmen and nine submariners were killed in the attack, and one was captured. Of Japan's 414 available planes, 29 were lost during the battle (nine in the first attack wave, 20 in the second), with another 74 damaged by anti-aircraft fire from the ground.

Staff Writer Ben Dudley may be contacted at ben@wilsonpost.com.Editor’s Note: Information from www.wikipedia.com was used in this article.

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