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Collections Corner – Pearl Harbor Christmas Card

December 7, is the anniversary of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. This special object in the State Museum’s collection is tied to the story of Columbia, SC native Jack Williams who served on the USS Arizona.

On Dec. 6, 1941 Williams mailed five Christmas cards to family and friends in Columbia. He was 19 years old and being stationed in Hawaii was his first time away from home on his own. The card pictured below was sent to Williams’ sister, Louise. It is simply signed ‘Jack’ with ‘Hey, honey’ written along the side.


Less than 24 hours after Williams sent his Christmas cards, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. The USS Arizona was heavily bombed and sank into the harbor, taking more than 1100 crew members down with her. Among those killed was Jack Williams, who was the first Columbia native to die in World War II. His family received his Christmas cards days after being notified of his death.

Today the wreckage of the USS Arizona remains at the bottom of Pearl Harbor where it serves as a memorial to all those who lost their lives on that tragic day.

Learn more about the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona:

National Park Service World War II Valor in the Pacific

National Park Service Pearl Harbor Photo Gallery

US Navy History – Pearl Harbor Attack

US Navy – History of the USS Arizona