Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bloody Sunday - Attack on Pearl Harbor December 7th 1941

Clyde Combs was a seaman first class on the Battleship USS Arizona. Survivor of the most devastating blow of the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese bomb destroyed the battleship and killed 1,177 of the 1,375 men aboard on December 7, 1941. Photographed in the Miami Herald 
photography studio in 1991.
By Al Diaz
Intrigued by World War II, and the heroic efforts of the men and women who fought in battle, I jumped at the opportunity to travel to Hawaii and cover the 50th Anniversary of that Bloody Sunday, December 7th, 1941.

Twenty years later I still treasure the privilege. Today, for the 70th anniversary, commemoration ceremonies in the United States will honor the roughly 3,600 who died or were wounded during
the attack.

Quoting from an old ballad, General Douglas MacArthur once said, "old soldiers never die; they just fade away." Through the camera lens, I have captured images of many of these brave souls. I have discovered that even in their winter years, old soldiers still have spunk! They are my heroes.
At left, Jesse Dunnagan waded through oil and dead bodies to recover a scrapbook from his locker inside the USS California after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Dunnagan was a seaman first class assigned as a gunner on the battleship docked at the head of "Battleship Row," facing the harbor and the incoming warplanes. Art Williams holds a flag recovered from a dead pilot in a downed Japanese bomber after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Williams was a machinist mate 1st class on the USS Vestal. The repair ship was docked on the outboard side of the USS Arizona which was ripped by a hugh explosion during the attack. Frank Nolan was fired upon by an attacking Japanese warplane during the bombing of Pearl Harbor.On that day, Nolan was a seaman 2nd class assigned to the USS Pelias, a submarine tender docked at Pearl Harbor.
Pearl Harbor Veterans on parade in Oahu, Hawaii for the 50th Anniversary.
Decades later, the target of Japan's surprise raid remains a profoundly moving place. A wreath in memory of those who died,  floats in the water at the site of the Arizona memorial. To this day, oil seeps to the surface from the sunken battleship.