Pearl Harbor heroes: the Medal of Honor 15

8 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Congress pays tribute to Pearl Harbor victims.

The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor lasted about 90 minutes, killed 2,333 American military personnel and wounded 1,139 others. PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — A few dozen elderly men who survived the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor 74 years ago were gathering Monday at the site to remember fellow servicemen who didn’t make it.

Seventy-four years later, the bombing of the military base in Hawaii was commemorated at Pearl Harbor by a joint service held by the National Park Service and the U.S. Information moved slower then, but the headlines made clear that the merciless tidal wave of history was crashing down on every doorstep, street corner and porch. This year’s theme is “Pathway to Reconciliation: From Engagement to Peace” and focuses on the normalization and subsequent friendship between the U.S. and Japan.

A fellow sailor said to him, ‘‘What’s the red ball in the wing, Bob?’’ ‘‘It brings back some lousy memories,’’ said Irwin, of returning to Pearl Harbor. But he comes to the annual ceremony because the attack was ‘‘a big thing in my life.’’ Irwin served as firefighter in San Francisco after the war and retired in as a lieutenant in 1979.

Sprague had ordered an expansion of the state police to “deal with sabotage in connection with the war between the United States and Japan.” Meanwhile, The Oregonian’s editorial page ran a violent – and, by modern standards, racist — caricature of a Japanese general committing “Hara-Kiri” with a sword in front of a ticked-off Uncle Sam. On the same page, an editorial from the state’s “independent Republican newspaper” supported FDR and predicted defeat for the Japanese in no uncertain terms, saying “Japan, as an empire, is about to go down beneath the waves of the Pacific. Roosevelt’s remarks, which were delivered before a joint session of Congress and broadcast on the radio the following day, resulted in unanimous approval from the Senate and only one representative who dissented on pacifist grounds in the House. Finn’s Medal of Honor citation states: “During the first attack by Japanese airplanes he promptly secured and manned a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy enemy machine gun strafing fire. Although painfully wounded many times, (shot in foot and shoulder) he continued to man this gun and to return the enemy’s fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety.” U.S.

Navy Chief Petty Officer John Finn likely accounted for some of the 28 Japanese planes shot down during the Pearl Harbor attack, firing a .50-caliber machine gun even after he was wounded in battle.

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