Columbus, Ga (WRBL) – 81 years ago Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Those attacks killed thousands of American service members and civilians died. Former US President Franklin Roosevelt called December 7th “a day that will live in infamy.” While that date seems so far away in 2022, historians say it’s still so important that we don’t forget that tragic day in US history.
“It was the catalyst that launched the United States into probably one of the most significant events in modern history that more or less changed the world as we know it,” said National Infantry Museum Chief Curator Jeff Reed.
There are a number of ways to learn about the attack on Pearl Harbor, through documentaries or books. In Columbus, the National Infantry Museum has objects that were in Hawaii during the attacks.
In their display there’s a revolver that belonged to Army Lieutenant Charles Dunn. Lieutenant Dunn. He was the active duty officer on December 7th, and minutes before he was about to leave his post Japanese air planes starting bombing Pearl Harbor. Lieutenant Dunn gave that revolver to his wife so she may potentially have to protect their home.
There’s also a 7.7 millimeter cartridge that the N.I.M. curators traced backed to the Japanese Zero plane. The Zero was the aircraft the Japanese used to carry out their attacks on Pearl Harbor.
As the years go on, unfortunately veterans from the “Greatest Generation” are starting to pass away. While the living history from World War II are leaving us, objects like the ones displayed in the N.I.M. are becoming the key to telling their story.
“You know the objects that were physically there I think they make the story resonate. You know you can read very detailed accounts from a book. Or you see video clips but again that doesn’t have the same impact as seeing a physical object,” said Reed.
Reed says it’s also important to see history outside of a text book, and to remember how the every day soldier helped win the war.
“Often times you don’t hear the story of the common soldier, infantry man that was on the front lines fighting from the foxhole. It was not the Omar Bradley and the Dwight Eisenhower’s that won World War II it was often times the common soldier,” said Reed.