Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: 70th Anniversary of ‘A Date Which Will Live in Infamy’


Wreckage of the USS Arizona. This image is part of a series of photographs from the U.S. Senate investigation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, and included among the papers of Ralph Owen Brewster, held by the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives.

Seventy years ago today, December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy,” President Roosevelt would say, planes from the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, launching the United States fully into World War II. The George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives holds several Pearl Harbor photographs as well as the  papers of U.S. Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster, of the Class of 1909, who sat on the Joint Committee to Investigate the Pearl Harbor Attack.

And with thanks to Secretary of Development and College Relations and de facto College historian John Cross ’76, we pass along the names of alumni known to have been stationed at Pearl Harbor 70 years ago:

John E. French 21, Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy, was killed in action at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, on the U.S.S. Arizona. Of the 1,400 on the Arizona, 1,170 perished in the attack. French was a World War I veteran of the U.S. Navy as well.

Stanley W. Allen 39, Ensign in the U.S. Navy, was killed in action at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, on the battleship U.S.S. Oklahoma.

Philip M. Johnson 40, Lieutenant (junior grade) in the U.S. Naval Reserve, was cited for meritorious service at Pearl Harbor on the destroyer U.S.S. Henley. The Henley was one of the first ships to maneuver into position to screen American ships from torpedo and aircraft fire after the initial attack. In October 1943 in New Guinea the Henley was hit by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine, breaking Johnson’s right leg and throwing him into the water. He was rescued after 14 hours in the water. He died December 1, 2006.

Life has posted a gallery of photos – some never before published – of the immediate aftermath of the attacks. The Washington Post dispels five myths that have endured over the decades.

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