Facts From Pearl Harbor: Before, During, And After The Attack

The attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, was devastating and completely unexpected. The day was filled with shock and sadness along with heroic acts and unforeseen consequences that have reverberated for years. While many people know the main history surrounding the surprise military strike on the harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, there are some facts you may not be aware of about the tragic attack.

Learn about the fates of the sunken battleships, the famous singer who contributed to the popular Pearl Harbor memorial, and what some survivors asked family members to do with their ashes after their deaths. There’s also an uplifting tale about an unlikely friendship that formed many years after the attack.

This Is What Japanese Commander Mitsuo Fuchida Meant When He Yelled ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’

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Roger Viollet via Getty Images
Roger Viollet via Getty Images

When flying over Pearl Harbor, Japanese Commander Mitsuo Fuchida called out, “Tora! Tora! Tora!” a code word that meant the attack was coming as a complete surprise. Tora also means tiger and is an abbreviation of the words “totsugeki raigeki,” which means “lightning attack.”

In 1970, directors Kinji Fukasaku, Toshio Masuda and Richard Fleischer made the film Tora! Tora! Tora! which showed both the Japanese and American viewpoints of the incident. The movie was a huge hit in Japan. Some of the footage from the film was featured in a 1981 TV episode of Magnum P.I.