The Fading Memory of Pearl Harbor Preserved on Film

It won't be too long before those with direct memories of the day are gone, but luckily for the younger generations, a rich historical record will be left behind

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National Archives

Seventy years after the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor, our cultural memory of the attack has inevitably faded. Of course, reflections on World War II still persist, in movies, books, even video games, and otherwise. But of course fictional depictions distance us from the reality of the events as much as they keep it in our consciousness. And it won't be too long before those with direct memories of the day are gone. At the end of this year, with too few members left to maintain an organization, the Pearl Harbor Survivor Association will disband. Back in 1958, the group had 28,000 members; now, The New York Times reports, there 2,700 left, most of whom are in their 90s and cannot actively participate in the group. Soon our only access will be through historians and the documentation they rely on, such as the images gathered below, now preserved by the National Archives.

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Brian Resnick is a staff correspondent at National Journal and a former producer of The Atlantic's National channel.

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