December 7, 1941, is a day forever etched in the memory of the United States of America. It was the date of a horrendous sneak attack by Japan on the US Naval Base of Pearl Harbour, on the island of Hawaii. A total of 2.403 lives were lost that day, along with another 1,178 who were injured. This event led to the US getting involved in WWII.
In 1994, the United States Congress, under president Bill Clinton, designated January 7 as the official Pearl Harbour Remembrance Day. Special events are held each year on this date to commemorate the tragic occasion, with 2021 being an extra special year, as it is the 80th anniversary. A celebration theme called ‘Valor, Sacrifice, and Peace’ is in place for 2021 on this anniversary.
Survivors of the awful surprise attack by the Japanese airforce will join together across the nation to remember those service members and civilians who perished that day in 1941.
US President Joe Biden made a plea on December 3, asking everybody to honour the patriots who perished while defending America on that fateful day in history, “I encourage all Americans to reflect on the courage shown by our brave warriors that day and remember their sacrifices”.
As he added, “I ask us all to give sincere thanks and appreciation to the survivors of that unthinkable day. Our Nation remains forever indebted to all those who gave their last full measure of devotion eight decades ago”.
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden, visited the World War Two Memorial on the National Mall, in Washington. There they paid their respects to the fallen, as Joe Biden touched a wreath, then saluted.
A special sunflower, which is the state flower of Kansas, was placed in the wreath in memory of former Senator Bob Dole. A war veteran, Dole, who passed earlier this week, aged 98, had been instrumental in getting the memorial built originally.
All across America on Pearl Harbour Day, flags are flown until sunset at half-staff in remembrance. January 7 is not a federal holiday, everybody goes about their jobs as with any other day, but special commemorations are organised. One such event will be a service from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center in Hawaii, which will be streamed live online.
Other activities include the Freedom Bell Ringing at the USS Bowfin, and at the Marine Corps Base in Hawaii, there will be a wreath presentation. The Pearl Harbour Mass Band will make a performance, while on Ford Island there will be a USS Oklahoma Memorial Ceremony, remembering the 429 crew members who died in the attack on the battleship.
The first ship to get hit in the attack was the battleship USS Utah, during which, 58 crew members died. A ceremony was held at Pearl Harbour prior to the anniversary, to remember those servicemen.
Navy representatives, veterans, and family members attended, with a bell tolling as the names of each deceased were read out. Finally, a lone trumpeter played near the site where the ship had gone down.
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