Few survivors remain to honor fallen on Pearl Harbor Day 2010

on pearl harbor day

Only about 3,000 of 60,000 U.S. military personnel present at the Pearl Harbor attack are still alive to observe Pearl Harbor Day 2010. Image: CC tinou bao/Flickr

Pearl Harbor Day 2010 marks the anniversary of the Japanese attack on the U.S. Pacific fleet in 1941 that compelled the U.S. to enter World War II. This year Pearl Harbor Day will be celebrated with the Dec. 7 dedication of a new $56 million Pearl Harbor visitors center. About 200 of the 3,000 servicemen remaining in the diminished ranks of Pearl Harbor survivors plan to attend.

The Pearl Harbor attack

Pearl Harbor Day 2010 is the 69th observance of Dec. 7, 1941, as the “day which will live in infamy.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt coined that phrase a day after the attack in a speech asking Congress to declare war on Japan. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise attack that killed 2,402 U.S. military personnel. Pearl Harbor Day shocked the nation much like the 9/11 terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed 2,752 people 60 years later. Japan attacked Pearl Harbor to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with its ambitions in Southeast Asia and the Philippines–a strategy that backfired big time.

What Pearl Harbor Day means

On Pearl Harbor Day, by order of the president, Americans should fly the U.S. flag at their homes, and it will be at half-mast on all U.S. government buildings to honor those killed in the attack. Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7, isn’t a federal holiday, but for Pearl Harbor survivors and other World War II veterans, the day is significant as they remember their comrades who died at Pearl Harbor and countless other battles. At the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, the 69th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack began on Sunday and runs through Wednesday.

Pearl Harbor Day 2010

The new Pearl Harbor visitor center will be dedicated on Pearl Harbor Day 2010. The facility features galleries, interactive exhibits, two movie theaters, an amphitheater and an education center. A handful of Pearl Harbor survivors (most are in their late 80s and early 90s) who can still travel will attend commemorations. On Dec. 7. Veterans, their families and various dignitaries will bow their heads in a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the moment the attack began in 1941. Military fighter jets will fly by in the “missing man formation” to commemorate the fallen. A parade of warships will cruise by to salute the remaining Pearl Harbor survivors.

Sources

USA Today

Reuters

Wikipedia

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