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The Pearl Harbor Horror

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Across the United States the country recoiled at the alarming news of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on this date in 1941. The Japanese bombardment and declaration of war had been a surprise.

At that time, Pearl Harbor was largely unknown to most Americans. A shocked President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would famously announce on radio that the raid on December 7th, 1941 was “a date that will live in infamy.” The famous phrase is still one of the most heart wrenching and well-known exclamations in history.

A Fargo Forum “Extra” edition that Sunday evening expanded upon the news coming over the radio, disclosing a preliminary estimate of 104 dead and more than 300 wounded within the army forces alone. The casualty count would soon mount, rising to over 2,300 Americans dead.

At the war’s outset, life changed for almost everyone in the world. Also changed were radio broadcasts and the pages of daily newspapers.

One such early example came as a Moorhead youth, Jess Trousdale, was prominently identified in the newspaper as a casualty aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma.

Jess had enlisted in the Navy on July 25th. In October, while on furlough, he visited his parents in Moorhead, but was called back with orders to report to the Great Lakes Naval Station. From there he was assigned to the Oklahoma.

His sacrifice in service to his nation would soon be followed by daily reports of injury and death, now that the country was at war.

Dakota Datebook by Steve Stark

References:

Fargo Forum and Daily Republican newspaper Dec 7, 1941

The Everything World War II Book

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