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5 Facts You Didn't Know About Pearl Harbor

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Sure, we all know the date (December 7th, 1941), and the famous quote ("a date which will live in infamy"), and of course the implications and significance (2,402 Americans were killed; it launched the U.S. into World War II).

But there are some other facts that may not be so obvious...

1. Some of the battleships sunk that day were resurrected:

Of the 8 battleships that were targeted during the attacks, all but 2 were eventually repaired and returned to the U.S. Navy's fleet. The USS West Virginia and the USS California had both sunk completely, but the Navy raised them, repaired them, and reused them.

Furthermore, bullet holes and damage from the attacks can be seen to this day at many of the active military installations on Oahu, including Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Army Airfield and Hickam Army Air Field. Rather than repair or cover up the damage, the bullet holes serve as a reminder of the lives lost that day and as motivation for our military to stand strong still:

wheeler army airfield

2. Veterans of the attack can be laid to rest at Pearl Harbor:

Survivors of the attack have the option to join their lost comrades and make Pearl Harbor their final resting place. Crewmembers who served on board the USS Arizona -- which experienced the most devastating damage -- when the attack occurred may choose to have their ashes deposited by divers beneath one of the sunken Arizona's gun turrets. Roughly 30 Arizona survivors have chosen this option and less than a dozen of the 355 survivors are known to still be alive.

pearl harbor burial

3. The USS Arizona still leaks fuel:

The day before the attack, the USS Arizona took on a full load of fuel — nearly 1.5 million gallons. Much of that fuel helped ignite the explosion and subsequent fires that destroyed the ship, but -- amazingly -- some of that fuel continues to seep out of the wreckage. According to the History Channel, the Arizona "continues to spill up to 9 quarts of oil into the harbor each day" and visitors often say it is as if the ship were still bleeding.

oil leak ocean

4. Servicemembers stationed in Hawaii took care of the memorial during the 2013 government shutdown:

Servicemembers stationed in Hawaii treat Pearl Harbor as a living memorial and have been known to rally around it when times are tough. In October, 2013, for instance, when the U.S. government shut down for more than two weeks, no one was around to take care of the memorial site. A spontaneous group of servicemembers and their families gathered to tend to the seemingly abandoned site, raking, weeding and mowing the overgrown grass. Their message, they said, was to all veterans: "We haven't forgotten about you. We will not forget about you."

arizona memorial hawaii

5. Many tourists from Japan come to visit the memorial:

While most school children can tell you that the Japanese were responsible for the attacks on Pearl Harbor, not everyone realizes that the Japanese now visit the memorial in droves. Japan, now one of America's strongest allies, is the largest source of international tourists to the state of Hawaii. They pay their respects at Pearl Harbor just as Americans do, and ironically, the economic vitality of Hawaii today depends largely on tourism from Japan.

uss arizona tourist

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