Dec. 7, 1941, is a date that forever changed the United States. Seventy-nine years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy commemorated the event marked the anniversary at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
“Today we honor the sacrifice of the service members and civilians who fought the opening battle of America’s entry into World War Two, setting the example of perseverance and paving the way for service above and beyond the call to serve,” said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Mike Genta.
The theme of this year’s Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is Above and Beyond the Call. In a speech, master of ceremony Genta expressed gratitude to all World War Two veterans and observed a minute of silence for those that lost their lives. The ceremony, however, was closed to the public due to the CCP virus pandemic.
“The veterans who couldn’t be with us today represent the greatest generation of all American history. No one before them, and no one since, has been asked to answer the call to serve and sacrifice in the way that they were, between the years 1941 and 1945,” said Genta.
In the early morning of Dec. 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack on the Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii. The base was home to the Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy. In just two hours, over 2,300 Americans lost their lives, half of which were crew members that sank with the battleship USS Arizona.
In a pre-recorded video played during the ceremony, 99-year-old Louis Conter—one of the only two remaining USS Arizona survivors—shared his story.
The Attack on Pearl Harbor marked America’s entry into World War Two. The war in the pacific did not come to an end until Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945. The Pacific War cost the lives of more than 110,000 U.S. service members.