Attack on Pearl Harbor for Kids

Imagine waking up on a sunny Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Oahu. It was a day like any other, with families in their cozy beds, and the world felt peaceful. But little did they know that the skies were about to be filled with planes, and the ocean with battleships.

Pearl Harbor, a bustling harbor and home to the United States Pacific Fleet, was suddenly the center of something huge. This harbor was like a floating city with battleships, airplanes, and brave sailors. That morning, when many people were still in their pajamas, the sky echoed with loud noises and thick smoke, and the sea was in chaos. The heroes of Pearl Harbor, the sailors and soldiers, were faced with a huge challenge.

The attackers came from far-off Japan, and they wanted to surprise America and stop it from getting in their way. They thought it would be easier to do this when nobody was expecting it.

But why did Japan attack? It all began with a long and complicated history. Japan was a country that wanted to grow and be powerful. They felt that they needed more land and resources to do that. So, they started a war with China, called the Second Sino-Japanese War, in 1937. They wanted to take over parts of China to get more of what they needed.

Japanese planes swooped down from the sky like a flock of angry birds. They dropped bombs and torpedoes on the ships and the harbor. It was very loud, and the explosions made the water splash high into the air. The ships in the harbor suffered greatly.

One of the most famous ships that was hit was the USS Arizona. This mighty battleship was almost like a floating fortress, and it was named after the state of Arizona. When it was struck, a huge explosion occurred, and the ship sank beneath the waves. The heroes on board, many of whom were trapped, became a symbol of bravery and sacrifice.

Another ship, the USS Oklahoma, also faced a terrible fate. It was capsized by the torpedoes and turned upside down. Brave sailors worked tirelessly to rescue their friends trapped inside the ship.

The USS California and the USS West Virginia were also damaged, but they would eventually be repaired and returned to the fight.

The USS Nevada, though heavily damaged, managed to get underway. It was the only battleship that could move during the attack. Its heroic crew fought hard to prevent the ship from falling into enemy hands.

The heroes of Pearl Harbor didn’t back down in the face of this unexpected and devastating attack. They were brave, just like superheroes in a comic book.

American fighter planes, like the P-40 Warhawks, took to the air to engage the incoming Japanese attackers. In this epic dogfight, American pilots displayed incredible courage and determination as they fiercely defended their homeland. These brave men engaged the enemy, maneuvering through the sky with great skill, attempting to protect their ships and harbor from further destruction. While they faced overwhelming odds, their unwavering commitment and heroism left a lasting mark in the history of the attack on Pearl Harbor, as they fought valiantly in the face of adversity.

Many heroes displayed great courage during and after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

First, there were the brave men who were on the ships and in the airplanes. They had to be quick and smart to defend their country. They didn’t give up, even when things looked tough.

Then there were the amazing nurses. These were kind and caring women who worked in the hospitals. When the attack happened, they didn’t run away; they stayed to help the wounded soldiers and sailors. They worked tirelessly to make sure everyone was okay.

One of these nurses was named Annie. She said, “I’m here to take care of you. Everything will be okay.” She smiled and gave comfort to those who were hurt. Annie and many other nurses showed incredible kindness.

The President at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke these famous words on the radio, 

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy… the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” In his speech, Roosevelt expressed the shock and anger felt by the entire nation. He went on to say, “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.” With these words, he assured the American people that they would stand strong and united against this unexpected attack, and they would eventually prevail. Roosevelt’s speech became a rallying cry, inspiring Americans to come together and work toward victory in World War II.

After the attack, people from all over America heard about what happened at Pearl Harbor. They wanted to help too. Many young men joined the army and the navy to protect their country. They were devastated by the attack on Pearl Harbor, especially those who lost loved ones. But it also made them very determined. The people of America decided they would work together and become even stronger. They remembered the heroes of Pearl Harbor, and they were inspired to do their best for their country.

In the years that followed, America and its allies joined together to fight Japan and the Axis Powers in what became World War II. It was a tough time, but the brave spirit of the heroes at Pearl Harbor lived on. Men and women across the country built airplanes, ships, and tanks. They planted victory gardens to grow food and were careful how they spent their money. Some donated their money to help the war effort. Everyone did their part to help their country.

With time, the heroes of Pearl Harbor became a symbol of courage and unity. They showed the world what it meant to be brave and never give up, even when times are tough.

In the end, America and its allies won the war, and they celebrated their victory. The heroes of Pearl Harbor, the men, women, and nurses, were remembered as true American heroes. They showed that when people work together, they can overcome even the biggest challenges.

Today, people still remember Pearl Harbor every year on December 7. They gather to honor the heroes and remember the day that changed America. It’s a day to think about the importance of peace and working together.

If you visit Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii today, you can still see the battleship, USS Arizona sunken just below the surface of the water. I’ve visited there multiple times and am always shocked to think of what happened there, but also spend the time honoring those who gave their lives in service to their country. And now the USS Arizona Memorial, floating solemnly above the sunken battleship, is a powerful symbol of remembrance and honor in the heart of Pearl Harbor. The memorial, which stands as a graceful white structure, is designed to gently straddle the ship’s sunken remains. Visitors from all over the world come to pay their respects and remember the heroes who perished in this historic tragedy.

As you step onto the USS Arizona Memorial, a hushed reverence fills the air. You can see the clear waters through the openings on the floor, a solemn window into the past. Inside, a wall bears the names of the brave men who lost their lives on the ship, a poignant reminder of their sacrifice. The memorial serves as a place of reflection and contemplation, reminding us of the importance of peace and unity. It’s a place where we honor the heroes of the USS Arizona and all those who came together during and after the attack on Pearl Harbor, illustrating the enduring spirit of resilience and togetherness.