Writer tells story of attack on Hawaii

by Eugene Burns

Honolulu, Dec 7 – At least two Japanese bombers, their wings bearing the insignia of the rising sun, appeared over Honolulu at about 7:35 am (Honolulu time) today and dropped bombs.

Unverified reports said a foreign warship appeared off Pearl Harbor and began firing at the defenses in that highly fortified post.

The sound of cannons firing comes to me here in Honolulu, as I telephone this story to the San Francisco Associated Press office.

Reports say that the Japanese bombers scored two hits, one at Hickam Field, air post on Oahu island, and another at Pearl Harbor, setting an oil tank afire.

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Shortly before I started talking on the transpacific telephone, I saw a formation of five Japanese planes flying over Honolulu.

American antiaircraft has set up a terrific din, and the sky also is filled with American battle aircraft.

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The sound of cannonading coming from the direction of Pearl Harbor has been continuing for an hour and a half. So far, there are no reports of casualties. No bombs have fallen in Honolulu itself, so far as I could determine before making this call.

There is much commotion going on, with planes in the air and antiaircraft firing.

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The citizens of Honolulu have been cleared from the streets by military and naval units, assisted by civilian volunteers, all carrying arms. But a lot of citizens have left the city for hills, to watch the planes and antiaircraft, and get a general view of the excitement.

I heard one man say, as he passed me enroute to the hills: “I’ll bet the mainland papers are going to exaggerate this.”

The sky was filled with puffs of smoke from exploding shells fired by American army and navy antiaircraft units.

Whether surface units of the United States fleet were in action against the enemy could not be immediately determined, but columns of water rising from the sea, as shells hit the water, indicated a naval action.

Viewed from the hills back of Honolulu, where many city folk went to view the fight, columns of heavy black smoke went skyward from Pearl Harbor.


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About this story

Source publication: Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nev.)

Source publication date: December 7, 1941

Filed under: 1940s, Events, Today in history, War

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