Today marks 79 years since Pearl Harbor in Hawaii was attacked killing over 2400 people (both military and civilian) and therefore hastening the United States’ entry into World War II.  President Roosevelt’s words were indeed prophetic as December 7, 1941 has been a day that has lived in infamy.

Considering El Paso has shared a long and loving relationship with the United States Military, it’s worth recognizing those people lost and injured at Pearl Harbor as well as highlighting Fort Bliss’ contributions to the Greatest Generation’s war efforts.

At Pearl Harbor 2,403 people were killed with 68 of them being civilians and damaging 19 Navy vessels of which 8 of those were battleships.  The attack came at 7:55 a.m. on a Sunday morning during which many were attending church services which left the harbor somewhat understaffed.

Once the US officially entered WWII, Fort Bliss which had headquartered the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry around this time, began to transition into an air defense center for which it was mainly known until approximately 2011.  During this time, a variety of missile testing and creating was done in the area which was made possible by the physical expansion of military land from a few thousand acres to over a million.  Fort Bliss also help approximately 100 German, Italian, and Japanese POW’s during World War II although land was made available to hold 1,350 prisoners of war.

It’s hard to believe it’s already been 75 years since World War II ended, with countless documentaries, movies, tv shows, etc. on the war being continuously shown in the years since, the feeling, at least for me, is that it wasn’t that long ago that brave Americans were fighting in Europe and the Pacific theater.  If you’re fortunate to still know a living World War II veteran, please make sure and reach out, thank them for their service, and let them know they are loved by all of us.

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LOOK: 100 years of American military history