75 years ago today, over 300 Japanese airplanes (as well several midget submarines) attacked the United States Navy ships stationed in Pearl Harbor. All of the 8 battleships stationed there were attacked, and 4 were sunk (6 of the ships were repaired and returned to service.) 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed, as well. Though intended to keep America out of the Pacific theater of WWII, it served as a catalyst for the United States’ participation in the war.
This event has been commemorated on many stamps over the years. In 2014, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp depicting the USS Arizona Memorial, intended for use on Priority Express envelopes. Army aviator and Pearl Harbor survivor Albert Thomas was on hand to help introduce the stamp.
According to the Cronkite News, “Thomas, who served as an Army pilot, said he remembers finishing breakfast in the mess hall and walking out to the patio when he saw a mustard-colored Japanese airplane fly over on a bombing run. ‘He was low enough, when he looked out of the cockpit I could see that he didn’t have his goggles over his eyes, that his goggles were over his forehead meaning the cockpit was closed,’ he said. ‘I want to honor the Pearl Harbor survivors that are no longer with us,” he said. “May they be remembered down to the last man. I say to them, rest in peace brothers, rest in peace.’”
The United States isn’t the only place you can find Pearl Harbor stamps. This dramatic Ugandan stamp shows Japanese planes in flight over the harbor after the attack.
A series from Sierra Leone earlier this year commemorates the battle with images of the planes of the era.
A stunning sheet from Gambia illustrates the history of WWII in the Pacific Theater, beginning with the attack on Pearl Harbor.
75 years after the attack, we still remember the loss of life and the bravery of those who responded on that day, as well as those who sacrificed during the years of the war.