Download Civil War Life: Left for Dead
Remembrances of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack often evoke images of burning ships in Pearl Harbor and exploding planes at Hickam Field. But not to be forgotten on today's 66th anniversary, said Daniel Martinez, chief historian at the USS Arizona Memorial, are Hawaii's civilians who survived.
In the months after the attack, the war crept into all aspects of life. Lei-makers made camouflage nets instead of garlands. The military lined beaches with barbed wire. A blackout order was imposed to ensure invading forces would not have city lights to guide them. "Maybe the unsung heroes that we should remember and look at are the civilians that endured the attack ... and the years after it," Martinez said.
The number of Pearl Harbor survivors is unknown. But they are older than the average WWII veteran and there are fewer of them. Officials estimate 2.7 million WWII veterans are still alive. Some wonder if Americans will remember one of the most defining moments in U.S. history after they die. Asked veteran Jack Ray Hammett, 87, "We're already just a paragraph in the history books. Will even that disappear when the last one of us dies?"