RED BANK, NJ: Maybe it was your father, your grandfather or even your great grandfather.  This is the story of their 9-11.  To quote David McCullough, "History is who we are and why we are the way we are."

 Lauren Bruner was the second-to-last man to escape the burning wreckage of the USS Arizona after a Japanese plane dropped a bomb that ignited an enormous explosion in the battleship’s ammunition storage compartment.

Bruner, who was shot in the leg and badly burned during the Japanese attack on the USS Arizona which was stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, died Sept. 10th at the age of 98.

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The Southern California man will be the 44th and last crew member to be interred in accordance with this rare Navy ritual.  Today, Saturday, a Navy diver will place Bruner's ashes inside the sunken battleship. 

To see a moving video entitled, Eternal Peace: Interment Aboard the U.S.S Arizona, click HERE.

On December 7th, 1941 at 7:53 am (PST), the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, a U.S. naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii.

The attack directly caused America’s entry to World War Two, leading to the eventual launch of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an outcome that spelled disaster for the Japanese.

The Japanese launched 353 fighter aircraft from six aircraft carriers, damaging almost 20 U.S. naval vessels, including 8 large battle ships, sinking four, 200 airplanes and killing over 2,400 Americans.

Why Did Japan Attack Pearl Harbor?

For decades the U.S. and Japan had been locking horns and it was inevitable that they would go to war.

Japan had imperial ambitions and to solve their demographical and economic problems, they invaded China in 1937 to take over the Chinese import market.

America responded with trade and oil embargoes and economic sanctions, coordinating with the British and Dutch governments.  Japan imported 90% of its oil and their country and military could not function without it.

Washington and Japan had been in negotiations for months but no resolution could be found.  Japan decided to attack.

Why Attack Pearl Harbor?

Knowing that war was unavoidable, Japan concluded that their only choice was to destroy America’s navy as quickly as possible through the element of surprise. 

Japan recognized that the Dutch East Indies and Malaya had the natural resources they needed – oil and rubber.

Through a simultaneous attack on Pearl Harbor, the Philippines and Malaya, the Japanese hoped to conquer and control these countries while America was still recovering from the Hawaiian strike.

It was Japan’s goal that America would accept defeat so that they could expand across the entire Pacific Rim.

Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor would reportedly write in his diary; “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

To see a video on the attack of Pearl Harbor, click HERE

To see and hear a video on President Roosevelt's Declaration of War click HERE.

After the dropping the atomic bombs, Japan unconditionally surrendered less than four years later.

The U.S. government began construction of USS Arizona Memorial began in 1960 and was dedicated on Memorial Day, May 30th, 1962.  The monument preserves and interprets the stories of the Pacific War, from the internment of Japanese Americans to the battles in the Aleutians.

The men and women who fought and died at Pearl Harbor, Europe and other theaters of war were later to be called, “The Greatest Generation.”

They literally saved the world from the forces of tyranny.

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."  General George S. Patton

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