1941: Remember Pearl Harbor, but Not Manila
By all rights, Dec. 8, 1941, should have been a day that lived in infamy, to borrow a phrase from President Franklin Roosevelt. On that date, a force of Japanese warplanes attacked American military bases in the Philippines, and bombed Manila, that nation's biggest city [source: Campbell].
Leon Long, a U.S. serviceman who worked in aircraft maintenance, recalled in a 2013 interview that he was coming back from a lunch break with a friend when they saw 50 warplanes descend upon their airfield and open fire. After an hour of bombing and strafing, most of the American bombers and fighter planes on the ground were destroyed, and 100 U.S. personnel were dead. Long somehow survived, and eventually crawled out from under the bodies of two dead airmen [source: Campbell].
But the sneak attack on the Philippines, a prelude to a brutal Japanese invasion and occupation of that country, has long been overshadowed by the event that happened just a few hours earlier, on the other side of the international date line — the Dec. 7, 1941, sneak attack on the U.S. military base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. In that incident, 2,403 people died [source: Campbell].