Remembering Pearl Harbor attack
December 7, 2021 - Eighty years ago, on December 7, 1941, Japan’s surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet moored in Hawaii caused profound shock in the U.S. and precipitated America’s entry into World War II.
More than 1,100 sailors died on the Arizona, which still lies at the bottom of the harbor as a memorial to what then-President Franklin Roosevelt described as “a date which will live in infamy.” On Dec 8, he requested, and received, a declaration of war against Japan.
The theme for the 70th anniversary, Once in a Lifetime, served as an implicit reminder that few – if any – of the naval base survivors would be around for the 80th anniversary observances. The coronavirus pandemic took a disproportionate number of senior lives in 2020 and 2021, and age itself will have claimed many more.
If the organizers receive an all-clear from the authorities because the surge in coronavirus deaths has subsided, perhaps a result of the national vaccination drive started in Jan 2021, then the program will include massed band performances and ceremonies near where USS Arizona and USS Missouri sank, and marching bands from around the United States. The theme of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade is “Remembering our past while celebrating that once bitter enemies can become friends and allies.”
If the pandemic is still a concern, all events will be scaled down, with visitors, and particularly any survivors, obliged to participate remotely.
The National Park Service holds a wreath-laying ceremony at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington DC at the time of the attack, just before 8 am, Hawaii time.