In the early morning hours of December 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise military attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. To mark the anniversary of that event, here are five things you probably didn't know about the attack on Pearl Harbor....
A Baby Girl’s Remains Was Entombed Within A Sunken Battleship A crew member of the USS Utah had been storing an urn containing his daughter’s ashes in his locker onboard, and was planning to scatter them at sea, but the attack on December 7th prevented him from ever doing so. Sixty-four men died aboard the USS Utah that day, and many of their bodies remain entombed within its sunken hull. The baby girl, who had died at birth, was finally honored with a funeral at the USS Utah Memorial at Pearl Harbor in 2003.
38 Sets Of Brothers Were On The Doomed USS Arizona
The USS Arizona had quite a few family members on board: a father and son, and 38—yes, 38—sets of brothers, representing a total of 79 men, on the battleship at the time. Within that group, 63 individual men were killed. After a number of similar tragedies in which families lost multiple members who served on the same ships, the Navy started discouraging the practice of placing family members together during service.
Elvis Presley Helped Raise Money For The USS Arizona Memorial
Creating the memorial at Pearl Harbor took several years and cost a lot of money, much of which was raised through benefits. One such benefit was a concert in 1961 by Elvis Presley, who performed 15 classic songs before a roaring crowd of around 5,000 fans in Pearl Harbor’s Bloch Arena. The concert raked in over $64,000 and Elvis Presley donated additional monies to the memorial construction fund. Contrary to rumors, Elvis didn't foot the bill for the entire cost.
Veterans Of The Attack Can Be Laid To Rest At Pearl Harbor Survivors of the attack have the option to join their lost comrades and have Pearl Harbor be their final resting place. Even those who served on board of the USS Arizona during the attack may have their ashes deposited by divers beneath one of the sunken Arizona’s gun turrets. The practice continued until December 2019, when Lauren Bruner became the last survivor to be laid to rest there. There were three remaining survivors, but they chose to be laid to rest with family in other cemeteries.
The USS Arizona Is Still Leaking The day before the attacks, the USS Arizona took on a full load of fuel, nearly 1.5 million gallons. Much of that fuel helped ignite the explosion and subsequent fires that destroyed the ship, but shockingly, some fuel continues to seep out of the wreckage. The Arizona continues to spill up to 9 quarts of oil into the harbor each day. Studies have shown there are bacteria feeding off the oil, which is actually increasing the rate of corrosion of the wreckage.