Morning Thunder Artist Proof by Robert Taylor

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The warm breezes blowing over the island of Oahu on that quiet Sunday morning heralded another peaceful day for the navy crews of the Hawaiian Islands, the massive naval armada lay sleeping in the flatcalm of Pearl Harbor, personnel aboard and ashore enjoying their customary week-end relaxation. With America at peace, this Sunday would be just another day in paradise…… It would not be so.

At ten minutes to eight, as the huge fleet lazily came awake, suddenly, and without warning, the world around them exploded with all the mighty force of thunder. Within seconds Pearl Harbor became cloaked with attacking Japanese aircraft. Before sailors could comprehend what was happening, bombs and torpedoes had ripped out the heart of the fleet. Four of eight battleships were sunk; a dozen more naval vessels lay stricken in the water; 2400 souls perished. In those terrible few moments, the tranquil scene was transformed into a boiling cauldron of explosions, fire, smoke and unimaginable destruction. Pearl Harbor became a raging inferno.

Robert Taylor's specially commissioned masterpiece recreates desperate moments during the second wave attack at around 9am on that fateful Sunday morning. Having taken six torpedo hits and two bomb strikes in the first wave attack on "Battleship Row", the West Virginia is ablaze, her bows already low in the water and decks awash. Ignoring the risks, crews push the navy tug Hoga alongside with fire-fighting equipment and to pick up survivors. Overhead, Japanese Zeros swoop through the smoke, aiming the second wave attack at installations on Pearl Harbor's Ford Island, to complete one of history's most devastating unprovoked declarations of war.

Images of that infamous attack on the American Pacific Fleet as it lay peaceably in Pearl Harbor, horrifying as they were, will become ever more significant as the years go by: They provide that constant reminder and enduring tribute so important to the memory of those who survived, and those who never saw the sun set on that momentous day in America's history. We are honored to have survivors who took part in the action at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, sign the prints in Robert Taylor's remarkable commemorative editions, making these authenticated prints living treasures.

Lieutenant John Finn MOH
Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism during the first attack by Japanese planes on the Naval air station, Kaneohe Bay. Finn secured and manned a .50-caliber machine gun mounted in a completely exposed position under heavy enemy machine gun strafing fire. Despite being seriously wounded, he continued to man this gun and to return the enemy's fire until ordered to leave his post to receive treatment. He subsequently insisted on returning to supervise the rearming of three returning PBYs so that they could seek out the Japanese forces.

Machinist Mate Lyndle Lynch
Lyndle Lynch was on board the USS Utah, an auxiliary battleship built in 1911 and being used as a gunnery training school. The Utah was hit by two torpedoes early in the raid and capsized at 0810. Fifty-four men are still entombed in the Utah, which now serves as a War Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

Seaman 1st Class Ken Swedberg
Ken Swedberg was serving aboard the vintage 4-stack destroyer USS Ward south of Pearl Harbor on the early morning of December 7. At 0645, the Ward fired on and sank a Japanese midget submarine trying to enter the anchorage, the first shots of the War.

Chief Boatswains Mate Richard Cunningham
Serving on board the battleship USS Arizona, Richard Cunningham was helping tackle the fires on board after the ship was hit by two armor piercing bombs. At around 0810 a bomb penetrated her forward magazine and the ship exploded with the loss of 1177men. Cunningham helped put out the last fires. The Arizona was never recovered and is today a national memorial visited by thousands of people.

Chief Gunners Mate John Land
John Land was on the USS Maryland on the morning of December 7. The Maryland, 'old Mary', was moored alongside the USS Oklahoma when the Oklahoma was hit by nine torpedoes and capsized with great loss of life. Land and the crew of the Maryland helped in the subsequent rescue of men from the overturned vessel.

Chief Machinist Al Fickel
Joining the Navy in 1939, Al Fickel was a seaman serving in the USS Pennsylvania, 'Pennsy', on the morning of December 7. The Pennsylvania was a flagship of the US Pacific Fleet and in dry-dock at the time of the attack with her propellers removed. She was hit in the second wave attack at 0907. The damage was soon repaired and the Pennsylvania went on to serve with distinction in the Pacific Theater.

Fireman 1st Class Quentin Pyle
Quentin Pyle served on the destroyer USS Bagley at Pearl Harbor. Built in 1938, the Bagley was moored in the Southeast Loch close to the light cruiser USS St. Louis, the only large ship to clear the anchorage during the attack. Wounded in the attack, Pyle went on to serve at Midway and The Coral Sea.

Chief Gunners Mate Miguel Acuna
Miguel Acuna was serving aboard the repair ship USS Vestal on the morning of December 7. Moored alongside the Arizona to complete scheduled repairs to some of the it's equipment, two torpedoes passed under the Vestal hitting the Arizona. The repair ship was pulled away from Arizona's burning wreck by the tug Hoga.

Overall print size: 33" wide x 23 3/4" high.

Image size: 26 1/2" wide x 16" high.