Seventy-six years ago today, on December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was treacherously attacked by the Japanese, killing more than 2,000. This date was described by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as “a date which will live in infamy.” It was the worst naval disaster in American history, and brought declarations of war by Japan, Germany, and Italy against the United States, and by America against them. For four long years following this event, American men and women served and died on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific.

One story from this day at Pearl Harbor relates to the USS California (a battleship, pictured on the right in the aftermath of the attack). During the attack, it took three direct hits — two torpedoes and one bomb, killing about 100. It caught fire and the remainder of the crew made their way to shore before the ship sank. The California was salvaged, repaired, and returned to service during World War II (pictured on the left is the rebuilt ship).

WallBuilders Collection includes the December 7, 1941 “Orders of the Day” for the USS California for the day of the attack. Since that day was a Sunday, the orders include times and locations for church services for the ship’s crew:

745 — Rig for church (starboard forecastle, weather permitting).

0750 — Send boat to Officers’ Club landing for Chaplain Maguire.

0830 — Chaplain’s Bible discussion class (port side Crew’s Reception Room).

0830 — Confessions (Crew’s library).

0900 — Divine Service (Catholic).

1000 — Divine Service (Protestant)

Obviously the attack, which began around 8 am, interrupted this schedule, preventing these church services from taking place. This document is an incredible glimpse into the normal routine these sailors were expecting for the day — events that never happened.

On Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we remember the men and women who lost their lives. We also honor our veterans who have faithfully served our nation throughout the generations.

WallBuilders Live (our radio program hosted by Rick Green, David and Tim Barton) has interviewed WWII veterans who were Pearl Harbor survivors. Listen to their stories today.

Don Stratton

Jackson Davis

James Womack

Ray Emory