National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: Americans recall events of 1941

Sailors in white uniforms hold large American flag, near blue water and USS Arizona Memorial in distance

Sailors pay tribute near the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. Photo by U.S. Navy, courtesy of Flickr

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7: It was the day that would “live in infamy”: On this date in 1941, just before 8 a.m., Japanese planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The raid lasted two hours. By the end, many American naval vessels had been destroyed, more than 2,400 American soldiers, sailors and civilians had died, and upward of 1,000 more were wounded. (View historic photos from the National Archives and more, here.)

The Japanese force had succeeded in demolishing eight massive battleships and hundreds of American airplanes. On December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan. Soon after, America joined in World War II.

The attack on Pearl Harbor occurred in 1941, but it wasn’t until decades later—in 1994—that National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day was designated for Dec. 7 of each year. (Wikipedia has details.) Traditionally, the American Flag is flown at half-staff until sunset, to honor those whose lives were lost. Many Americans plan visits to memorials that were erected in Pearl Harbor and across the United States.

A SPECIAL WEBCAST

This year, National Park Service and the U.S. Navy have announced “a joint memorial ceremony commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 2014 on the main lawn of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, looking directly out to the USS Arizona Memorial, at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.”

More than 2,500 guests are expected to attend, including Pearl Harbor survivors and WWII veterans. The event will be broadcast live via webcast so that those who cannot travel to Hawaii can still participate. The webcast will include a special behind the scenes look at the ceremony and will feature live interviews with Pearl Harbor Survivors. However, online registration to view the event is required.

The ceremony will include music by the Navy’s U.S. Pacific Fleet Band, morning colors, a Hawaiian blessing, a cannon salute by members of the U.S. Army, wreath presentations, echo taps. A moment of silence will be observed at 7:55 a.m., the exact moment the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor began. A U.S. Navy ship will render honors to the USS Arizona, and a flyover will be conducted above Pearl Harbor.