Pearls for Pearl Harbor

"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." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Pearls on Pearl Harbor Day

Today is the 79th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which was followed quickly by the entry of the U.S. into World War II. As a teacher, I'm always looking for ways to help my students relate to historical events. For example, I always try to find colorized film when I share Pearl Harbor with them. It's so much easier for 13 years to relate to colorized film than black and white. There "digital native" eyes have a hard time adjusting to black and white footage! They tell me it looks like a blob. (Kids there days... hahaha)

The Obergs

This year I discovered the Obergs, an ordinary couple living only a mile or so from the Pearl Harbor Navy Base. Using their hand held camera they filmed footage of the aftermath of the attack. I found a short documentary about the Obergs, click here to watch it, which details their experience on the day of the attack and the footage from after the attack. Using sources like the Oberg’s film really helps my students to better visualize a historic event, because it makes it seem more real to them.

Edna's footage of the attack from the windows of her apartment is a perspective of the attack that is rarely seen, the perspective of regular person living close to the attack. The Oberg's had been on the island for a little over a year. They had used their motion picture camera to capture films of them hanging out with friends, touring the island, and sunbathing on the beach. The weekend prior to the attack they had used their camera to take film of the Christmas decorations in town. In fact, the reason they had color film in camera was that it was still loaded from their Christmas decoration excursion.

I hope that this Pearl Harbor day we all take a minute to say a prayer and pause for a few seconds to remember the brave men and women who died, fought, and lived through the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor Statistics

2,403 people were killed (68 were civilians)

1,178 people were wounded (35 were civilians)