NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — It was 70 years today that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, killing thousands of Americans and plunging the United States into World War II.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot With “Pacific Crucible” Author Ian Toll
(Download the full interview HERE)

Today, Pearl Harbor survivors throughout the Tri-State area are among those around the country commemorating the anniversary.

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

Nearly 2,400 Americans lost their lives in the attack. Twelve ships were sunk or beached; nine others were damaged. The U.S. lost 164 aircraft. On the Japanese side, 64 died and 29 planes were destroyed.

A day later, President Roosevelt went before Congress to ask for a declaration of war and it approved it within hours.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond Aboard The Intrepid

The 70th anniversary of the attack was marked in New York City on the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum with a wreath-laying ceremony. Former USS Intrepid crew members and Pearl Harbor survivors from the New York City area participated.

In New Jersey, a survivor of Pearl Harbor was honored Tuesday with the Bergen County Military Service Medal.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports

Tom Mahoney 19 at the time of the attack and was serving on the USS Curtis.

When the fighting finally ended on Dec. 7, Mahoney found himself gazing across Pearl Harbor at a fiery red sunset. He turned to the sailor next to him to ask if he had heard if Mahoney’s brother, who was aslo serving as a shipmate, had made it out alive.

As it turned out, the soot-covered sailor sitting next to him was in fact, his brother.

“You can’t believe how we cried,” he said. “It was just like discovering someone who was missing for a thousand years.”

The images of that day remain vivid.

“Never forget it. It’s embedded in my brain, two hours of rotten hell,” he said.

Mahoney will be 90-years-old next week.

In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy has ordered all flags to half-staff in tribute to the 2,390 Americans killed in the attack. The governor says flags should be lowered from sunrise to sunset.

Malloy says it’s a time to reflect on one of darkest moments in America’s history and to honor the courage shown by the armed forces at Pearl Harbor and during World War II.

Many ceremonies are planned across the state to honor those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor, including one at noon at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton.

To mark the 70th anniversary, the FDR library in Hyde Park has unveiled an online database of Roosevelt’s daily schedule.

The interactive chronology documents FDR’s day-to-day activities as president from March 1933 to April 1945, including his White House meetings held on Dec. 7, 1941.

For more information, visit

Please share your thoughts below…

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Comments (4)
  1. karen says:

    thanks to those who survived the attack, and served their country in the years that followed. yes, war is hell, as my family and friends who have worn the uniform of the various armed services have testified. freedom isn’t free. the years don’t diminish your pain and suffering, or the loss of your friends. a salute and love from a grateful american girl.

  2. Rodin says:

    The notion that Hiroshima was a major military or industrial center is implausible. The city had remained untouched through years of devastating air attacks on the Japanese home islands, and never figured in Bomber Command’s list of the 33 primary targets.

    In effect, both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were targeted because, being cities of little, if any, military or industrial import, they had spent the war basically unscathed, enabling students of warfare to more precisely study its effects and accurately measure its devastation. In other words, the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA blew away over 300,000 men, women and children in a non-military target as a “test” in a few seconds and then went on to a second “test” a couple of days later.

    Thus, the rationale for the atomic bombings has come to rest on a single colossal fabrication, which has gained surprising currency: that they were necessary in order to save a half-million or more American lives.

    These, supposedly, were the lives that would have been lost in the planned invasion of Kyushu in December, then in the all-out invasion of Honshu the next year, if that was needed. But the worst-case scenario for a full-scale invasion of the Japanese home islands was forty-six thousand American lives lost. The ridiculously inflated figure of a half-million for the potential death toll – nearly twice the total of U.S. dead in all theaters in the Second World War – is now routinely repeated in high-school and college textbooks and bandied about by commentators.

    Unsurprisingly, the prize for sheer fatuousness on this score goes to President George W. Bush, who claimed in 1991 that dropping the bomb “spared millions of American lives.”

    The bombings were condemned as barbaric and unnecessary by high American military officers, including Eisenhower and MacArthur. The view of Admiral William D. Leahy, Truman’s own chief of staff, was typical: “the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. . . . My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”

    As Major General J.F.C. Fuller , one of the century’s great military historians, wrote in connection with the atomic bombings: “Though to save life is laudable, it in no way justifies the employment of means which run counter to every precept of humanity and the customs of war. Should it do so, then, on the pretext of shortening a war and of saving lives, every imaginable atrocity can be justified.”

    “If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities instead of us, we would have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them.”

    THIS was the scene of the most hideous, horrific crime in the history of the human race, by which any other pales. If Harry Truman was not a war criminal, then no one ever was.

    NB – This text has been adapted, in part, from http://WWW.THENAUSEA.COM

    Pearl Harbor was a military base. Whether this was indeed a sneak attack is highly suspect. Less patriotism, more realism, more humanity.

  3. blackhawk211 says:

    I found a digital edition of the Pearl Harbor 70th Anniversary publication. It’s the same one being used in today’s commemoration ceremonies in Hawaii.

  4. michaelfury says:

    “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today.”

    – George W. Bush in his diary, 9/11/2001

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