Amazing Pearl Harbor Story Finally Published… 71 Years Later

By David Noonan from original
The USS Arizona burns on December 7, 1941.

“There was blood and the fear of death—and death itself—in the emergency room as doctors calmly continued to treat the victims of this new war… I had never known that blood could be so bright red.”

Those words were written 71 years ago by a young woman reporter for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin as the fires were still burning after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But Betty McIntosh’s gripping account of the attack and its aftermath wasn’t published until yesterday, when it ran in the Washington Post.

“My editors thought the graphic content would be too upsetting for readers,” McIntosh, now 97, writes in the Post.

What the then 26-year-old reporter produced is a detailed report full of harrowing scenes—”In the morgue, the bodies were laid on slabs in the grotesque positions in which they had died. Fear contorted their faces. Their clothes were blue-black from incendiary bombs. One little girl in a red sweater, barefoot, still clutched a piece of jump-rope in her hand”—and surprisingly graceful descriptions of the action: “I saw a formation of black planes diving straight into the ocean off Pearl Harbor. The blue sky was punctured with anti-aircraft smoke puffs.”

Don’t miss this moving masterpiece, reported and written by a sharp-eyed and fearless journalist. And check out the Post’s video interview with Betty McIntosh.

Finally, here’s a marked up draft of FDR’s “day of infamy” speech.