Sunday, December 7, 1941, forever altered the lives of countless Americans. That day, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, executed destruction, and plunged America into the Second World War. Over eighty years later, this coin remembers and honors all those who would be forever changed and all who rose up to fight back.
On the “date which will live in infamy,” Japanese naval and air forces roared into an unsuspecting Pearl Harbor and stole more than 2,000 military and civilian lives and injured 1,000 more. With that merciless bombardment, they also obliterated and crippled 20 U.S. naval vessels and 188 planes. Of the eight battleships included in that tally, three ships would never again serve their country.
The USS Arizona suffered the worst damage and took the most lives to the bottom with her. A Japanese bomb plowed through her deck and ditched into the forward ammunition compartment. The massive explosion sank the ship in nine minutes, taking with it 1,000 sailors.
Aboard the USS Oklahoma that fateful day, 429 crew members succumbed to the sea when the ship capsized after several Japanese torpedoes pummeled her. During the deadly attack, the USS Utah, which the Navy had recently converted from a battleship to a gunnery training ship, was docked opposite “Battleship Row” on the other side of Ford Island. Struck by a torpedo, she slowly began to list to port, allowing 461 men to escape before fully rolling. Sadly, 64 crew went down with the ship.
In response to the onslaught, U.S. military forces united for war against the Japanese on December 8.
This coin is minted in a shiny plated finish, with the obverse depicting the USS Arizona floating proudly from a distance. “REMEMBER HONOR UNDERSTAND” encircles the perimeter. The reverse features the famous depiction of the attack in the background contrasted with the memorial site of the present day in the foreground.
Each coin measures 1.5 inch (39mm) in diameter.