Today is December 7th. At 7:55 am my house was rocked with the roar of low-flying military jets. A tight formation of F-16s curled over Mililani on their way to a fly-over of Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial.
It was at 7:55 am on this date in 1941 that the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor began.
Each year Hawaii remembers with a ceremony traditionally attended by representatives of the nation of Japan. Wreaths are laid and flower leis tossed into the water from the Arizona Memorial, that stands astride the remains of the battleship that carried 1,177 sailors to their watery grave on that "infamous" Sunday morning.
Living survivors of that day still gather to remember. Their numbers growing smaller each year. Those who live in Hawaii volunteer at the Memorial every day, greeting visitors and telling the stories of the death and heroism of their friends and comrades. Soon, they will be gone and only their stories will remain.
This year, special honor was given to the USS Ward, a that happened to be on patrol off the entrance to Pearl Harbor that morning. At around 5:45 am someone on the ship spotted what appeared to be the superstructure of a miniature submarine, heading in the direction of the harbor entrance.
Ironically, the USS Ward was hit by a Japanese kamakazie plane on December 7, 1944, exactly three years after the attack on Pearl Harbor
The command was given to fire. The ship fired twice. Because of good aim or good luck, the sub was hit and sank to the bottom, taking its two Japanese crew members with it.
Historically, this is considered to be the first formal engagement between the United States and Japan in WW II....one hour before the attack on Pearl Harbor began.
The remains of the miniature submarine were discovered not too long ago, in 1200 feet of water not too far from where the USS Ward's log said it would be. Its exact location has not been revealed to protect it from scavengers. It is now protected by law.