Driving to work this morning, I noticed the flags of federal office buildings lowered to half-staff. Quite often, that means that a member of Congress or a notable government official has died, so my heart always leaps into my throat if I don?t already know the specific reason why.
And then I remembered today?s date: December 7, 2007. For many Americans, that awful morning two-thirds of a century ago?December 7, 1941?still feels ever-present, an attack on U.S. soil that resonates strongly even in our 21st-century lives.
Pearl Harbor and its aftermath are well-represented in the collections of the Library of Congress. A good place to start is our ?Today in History? page, which includes links to the archive of ?man-on-the-street? interviews organized by folklorist Alan Lomax almost immediately afterward. Another highlight of the collections is the original naval dispatch from the commander-in-chief of the Pacific fleet, or CINCPAC, which contained only nine ominous words: “AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL.”
(Image: Detail of CINCPAC naval dispatch, Dec. 7, 1941)