Seventy-five years ago today, the United States was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbor, “a date which will live in infamy.”
Ninety minutes after the attack began, it was over—leaving 2,403 Americans dead and another 1,178 wounded. The U.S. was at war with Japan, and three days later, with Germany.
While the nation was stunned, the American people rolled up their sleeves and got to work: defending the country and keeping it running.
Just a week after the attack, TWU founder Michael Quill addressed a rally in New York, organized by the Greater New York Industrial Union Council. “The Transport Workers Union, like all labor, realize its responsibility in this crisis. Our young men are now joining the armed forces of this country. Our old-timers are helping to train new forces to take their place in the transit lines. Our transport workers can play an important role in this city in giving the people safe and uninterrupted transit service…irrespective of what emergency may come our way. We are glad to be given an opportunity to play our part.”
The labor movement did play its part in helping the nation towards victory in World War II. Thousands of TWU members joined their fellow Americans at war and on the home front, honored to be part of the Greatest Generation.
On this solemn anniversary of when it all began, TWU remembers the lives lost at Pearl Harbor, the sacrifices made, and a day that changed our country forever.