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Woohee Han, Millburn Middle School, Millburn, NJ

Pearl Harbor: Our Past, Present, and Future

Over 2,000 people died in just two hours on December 7th, 1941. These deaths were caused by Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. December 7th marks a historical moment not just for America, but for the entire world. Pearl Harbor is an event that has greatly changed our society: it impacted World War II and the lives of many Americans. We must remember.

To begin with, there are over 2,000 reasons why we should remember Pearl Harbor. They are the numerous names of people who lost their lives that day. Many of these people were parents, brothers, sisters, and children. We remember Pearl Harbor to honor those who died, as well as to provide comfort for those who have lost loved ones. America was completely unprepared for this surprise attack from Japan. Many lives and resources were completely destroyed. So many people were injured that hospitals were full and as a result, many had to be laid down on lawns to receive help. The bombing at Pearl Harbor demolished more than 350 aircrafts and 8 ships, including the USS Arizona, a.k.a "The Invincible Battleship”. The sinking of “The Invincible Battleship” shows the immense damage and impact of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

While the events that occurred at Pearl Harbor were a horrible tragedy, it also provided an opportunity for America to become a stronger unified country. Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the nation was divided in whether they should be involved in World War II. The events that took place in Pearl Harbor brought Americans together to support one another. Having been threatened and attacked on their own homeland, Americans felt a strong need to protect their nation, leading them straight into World War II.

Pearl Harbor changed the history of not only America, but the history of the world. Prior to Pearl Harbor, the US was not involved in World War II. A day after the attack, the US declared war on Japan and after three days, America declared war on Germany. The slogan "Remember Pearl Harbor" mobilized the nation and caused it to quickly act and join the war. With Americans all united, America played a crucial role in helping the Allies win World War II.

The lessons that can be learned from Pearl Harbor will always be valuable. However, Pearl Harbor or any topic for that matter needs to be taught in a larger context to be impactful. For instance, through this experience, I not only see Pearl Harbor as part of American history but as a time when America came together and bravely fought to save millions of lives. Through writing this essay, I have a deeper understanding of the importance of remembering Pearl Harbor. It also has changed how I approach history. History is not something of just our past; it is part of our present and future.


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Student Travel – WWII Educational Tours
High school and college students, learn the leadership principles that helped win WWII on a trip to France or during a weeklong residential program in New Orleans. College credit is available, and space is limited.

See You Next Year! HS Yearbooks from WWII
Collected from across the United States, the words and pictures of these yearbooks present a new opportunity to experience the many challenges, setbacks and triumphs of the war through the eyes of America’s youth.

The Victory Gardens of WWII
Visit the Classroom Victory Garden Project website to learn about food production during WWII, find lesson plans and activities for elementary students, get tips for starting your own garden and try out simple Victory Garden recipes!

The Science and Technology of WWII
Visit our new interactive website to learn about wartime technical and scientific advances that forever changed our world. Incorporates STEM principles to use in the classroom.

Kids Corner: Fun and Games!
Make your own propaganda posters, test your memory, solve puzzles and more! Learn about World War II and have fun at the same time.

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