“Yesterday, December 7, 1941— a date which will live in infamy— the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan,” then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt put the surprise attack — which left about 2404 American service-members and civilians dead and thrust the United States into war — into words.

Today, as the United States remembers that Sunday morning 80 years ago, the survivors barely number in the dozens. But just one day earlier, all was quiet.

But everything changed as morning dawned on December 7, 1941.

  • At 6:10 a.m. local time, the USS Condor sighted a periscope — and within moments, the first wave of Japanese fighters were in the air. They took off from carriers located some 200 miles north of Oahu.
  • At 6:45 a.m., sailors aboard the USS Ward fired on a Japanese submarine. Despite the fact that the United States had not yet officially entered the war, those sailors are remembered for firing the first American shots in World War II.
  • Eight minutes later, at 6:53 a.m., the USS Ward radioed Navy headquarters to inform them of the engagement, but the decoding process delayed the message.
  • At 7:02 a.m., an Oahu-based radar station reported sighting an unidentified aircraft heading toward Hawaii. An Army lieutenant, believing the reported aircraft were American B-17s flying in from California, disregarded the warning at 7:20 a.m..
  • By 7:40 a.m., the first wave of Japanese fighter planes — “Zeros” — was flying over Oahu. The command to attack was given at 7:49 a.m.
  • At 7:55 a.m., the Japanese planes began their assault.
  • At 8:10 a.m., the USS Arizona exploded.