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National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
Pearl harbour.png
DateDecember 7
Next time7 December 2019 (2019-12-07)

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, also referred to as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day or Pearl Harbor Day, is observed annually in the United States on December 7, to remember and honor the 2,403 citizens of the United States who were killed in the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941.

On August 23, 1994, the United States Congress, by Pub.L. 103–308, 108 Stat. 1169, designated December 7 of each year as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.[1] On November 29, President Bill Clinton issued a proclamation declaring December 7, 1994, the first National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.[2] It became 36 U.S.C. § 129 (Patriotic and National Observances and Ceremonies) of the United States Code.[3]

On Pearl Harbor Day, the American flag should be flown at half-staff until sunset to honor those who died as a result of the attack on U.S. military forces in Hawaii.[4] Pearl Harbor Day is not a federal holiday – government offices, schools, and businesses do not close. Some organizations may hold special events in memory of those killed or injured at Pearl Harbor.[4]

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FDR: “December 7th, 1941, A date which will live in infamy. The United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan…” The relationship between Japan and the United States had soured in the years leading up to Pearl Harbor. This began with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and expansion throughout the Chinese mainland that led to The Second Sino-Japanese war between China and Japan in 1937. Japan then joined the Berlin or Tripartite pact, forming an alliance with Germany and Italy in 1940. The War in Europe had opened up strategic opportunities for the Japanese conquest of European colonial holdings, such as French Indochina, British Malaysia and Singapore, Dutch Indonesia, and the Philippines. Following the invasion of French Indochina in 1941, the US froze Japanese assets in the United States and declared an embargo on petroleum shipments. US oil accounted for 80% of Japan’s oil imports. By late 1941 the United States had severed practically all commercial and financial relations with Japan. Japanese military strategy was based on the peculiar geography of the Pacific Ocean and on the relative weakness of the Allied military presence there. The western half of the Pacific is dotted with many islands, while the eastern half of the ocean is almost devoid of landmasses and hence usable bases, except for Hawaii. The British, French, American, and Dutch military forces in the entire Pacific region west of Hawaii amounted to only about 350,000 troops. Allied air power in the Pacific was weak and consisted mostly of obsolete planes. The Japanese believed that they could quickly launch coordinated attacks from their existing bases on certain Pacific Islands and overwhelm the Allied forces, planning to establish a strongly fortified defensive perimeter. They believed that any American and British counteroffensives against this perimeter could be repelled, after which those nations would eventually seek a negotiated peace that would allow Japan to keep this newly acquired empire. On the morning of December 7th, at 6:10 AM, The first wave of Japanese planes launched. At 6:45 AM the USS Ward spotted and opened fire on a Japanese submarine off the coast of Hawaii At 6:53 AM the Ward reported sinking the sub, but decoding the message took time. At 7:02 A radar station on Oahu spotted unidentified aircraft headed towards the island. However, radar systems were less than a month old, and the lieutenant who received the warning thought it was a false alarm. By 7:40 AM the first wave of Japanese aircraft reaches Oahu, having evaded American early warning systems. Shorty thereafter, the Japanese aerial commanded ordered the attack. The Japanese aircraft flew in two waves – the first wave attacked airfields and anti-air defenses on the west side of the island, while the second wave, almost an hour later, concentrated on the eastern side. Both waves met over Pearl Harbor. In the harbor, anchored ships made perfect targets for the Japanese bombers. Most of the damage to the battleships occurred in the first 30 minutes of the assault. The Arizona was completely destroyed and the Oklahoma capsized. The California, Nevada, and West Virginia sank in shallow water. However, the Pacific Fleet’s three aircraft carriers were at sea during the attack, and the Japanese failed to destroy the important oil storage facilities on the island. All but two of the battleships were returned to service during the war, and overall US naval strategy in the pacific shifted to rely on aircraft carriers over battleships as a result. Japan’s fleet of 67 ships was located about 200 miles north of Oahu. They launched dive bombers, torpedo bombers, and fighter planes. There were 353 Japanese aircraft involved in the attack, 29 of which were shot down. Only one Japanese ship that participated survived to the end of the war. In total, 2,404 US military personnel and civilians were killed. 1,177 of those casualties were aboard one ship – the USS Arizona, where an armor-piercing bomb struck and ignited over a million pounds of gunpowder within the ship. The Arizona sank in less than nine minutes. 68 US civilians were killed. After the battle, 15 individuals were awarded the Medal of Honor and 51 were awarded a Navy Cross for their actions in battle. The following day, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed the United States, and the US congress declared war against Japan. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, and the previously reluctant nation entered the Second World War. The attack on pearl harbor is credited with uniting the US population behind the war effort. It is estimated that between 35 and 65 million people died during the Second World War, including civilians killed as a result of war, those who died from disease, and those killed during the Holocaust. The Second World War resulted in the expansion of the Soviet Union’s power throughout eastern Europe, the spread of communism to China, the advent of nuclear weapons, and the decisive shift of world power away from the states of western Europe and toward the United States and the Soviet Union


The attack on Pearl Harbor

On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked Naval Station Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii Territory, without warning and without a declaration of war, killing 2,403 Americans, and injuring 1,178 others. The attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships and damaged four others. It also damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer. Aircraft losses were 188 destroyed and 159 damaged.


Canada declared war on Japan within hours of the attack on Pearl Harbor,[5] the first Western nation to do so. On December 8, the United States declared war on Japan and entered World War II on the side of the Allies. In a speech to Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the bombing of Pearl Harbor "a date which will live in infamy."[4][6]

Pearl Harbor and Ford Island historic sites

In Pearl Harbor:

  • The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor is a marble memorial over the sunken battleship USS Arizona, which was dedicated on May 30, 1962 ("Memorial Day"), in honor of the 1,177 crew members who were killed. The memorial remembers all military personnel who were killed in the Pearl Harbor attack. Note: This site is open to the public with boat tours to the memorial provided by the US Navy from the visitors center.
  • The USS Oklahoma Memorial is in remembrance of a battleship that was sunk which lost 429 men on December 7, 1941.[7]
  • The USS Utah Memorial, is in remembrance of a former battleship that had been converted to a target ship in 1931 (thus, at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack carried the designation of AG-16), that was sunk in the attack on December 7, 1941.[8] A memorial to honor the crew including the 58 who died aboard USS Utah was dedicated on the northwest shore of Ford Island, near the ship's wreck, in 1972. The ship, along with USS Arizona, was added to the National Register of Historic Places and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989.
  • The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, is in remembrance of an American submarine that sunk 44 ships in World War II.[9] Note: This site is adjacent to the USS Arizona Memorial Visitors Center.

Also on Ford Island. Note: Ford Island remains an active military installation therefore public access is restricted to approved tours, military personnel, military retirees, NOAA personnel and their family members only.

Pearl Harbor tributes

USS Missouri at the observance of the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack (December 7, 1991)
USS Missouri at the observance of the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack (December 7, 1991)

In 1990, leading up to the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Congress established the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal. This is also known as the Pearl Harbor Survivor's medal and was awarded to anyone who was in the U.S. Armed Forces and who was present in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, and participated in combat operations that day against the attack. The medal was also awarded to civilians who were killed or injured in the attack. A few years later, Congress amended the law to allow any person who was present in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, and was involved in combat operations against Japanese military forces attacking Hawaii, to receive the award. In both instances, there was a limited time period to apply for the award, and it is no longer issued.[13]

See also


  1. ^ "Official Guide to Government Information and Services  - USAGov". Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  2. ^ Proclamation 6758 - National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, 1994, November 29, 1994
  3. ^ Clerk of the United States House of Representatives (August 23, 1994). "National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day". United States House of Representatives. Washington, D.C.: United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in the United States". Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  5. ^ "Parliament, The National Defence Act, and the Decisions to Participate". Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  6. ^ For the full text of the speech, see Pearl Harbor speech
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ "USS Utah at Pearl Harbor". Pearl Harbor Oahu. March 28, 2012.
  9. ^ "USS Bowfin Submarine". Pearl Harbor Historic Sites.
  10. ^ "Battleship Missouri Memorial". Pearl Harbor Historic Sites.
  11. ^ "Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor". Pearl Harbor Historic Sites.
  12. ^ "Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor".
  13. ^ 104 Stat. 1721, 110 Stat. 2654

External links

This page was last edited on 5 April 2019, at 15:42
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