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World War II Veterans Tour Pearl Harbor During 80th Anniversary Pearl Harbor Remembrance World War II Veterans Tour Pearl Harbor During 80th Anniversary Pearl Harbor Remembrance  (Public Domain)

Remembering Pearl Harbor 80 years on

The United States on Tuesday marks the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, an event which led the country to formally enter the Second World War

By Vatican News staff reporter

On 7 December 1941, the Japanese attacked the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii killing 2,390 Americans.

The US President at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the act "a date which will live in infamy.”

The base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four sunk. A number of battleships were later raised and were used to fight in the war, with the exception of USS Arizona.

On Monday evening, a memorial ceremony was held at Pearl Harbor to honour the 58 servicemen who died aboard the battleship USS Utah, the first ship hit in the attack.

Members of the U.S. Navy, veterans, friends and family members gathered as the names of those who died were read out, each accompanied by a toll of a bell.

Valour, Sacrifice, and Peace

President Joe Biden and his wife on Tuesday marked the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor with a visit to the World War II Memorial in the capital Washington

Survivors were also expected to gather later Tuesday in Pearl Harbor to remember those killed 80 years ago and observe a minute of silence at 7.55 local time, the exact moment of the attack. The theme for this year’s National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration is Valour, Sacrifice, and Peace

The goal of the commemoration “is to ensure that future generations will understand the valor and legacy of those who perished and those who fought throughout the war.”

Eye witness account

Herb Elfring who is now 99, nearly didn’t live through the attack. “It was just plain good to get back and be able to participate in the remembrance of the day,” he said.

Elfring was in the Army and was part of the California National Guard at the time of the attack.

He recalled Japanese planes flying overhead and bullets shelling his Army base at Camp Malakole, a few miles down the coast from Pearl Harbor.

Women and the war

A number of women who helped the war effort by working in factories have come to Hawaii to participate in the memorial this year. Mae Krier, now 95, built B-17s and B-29 planes at a Boeing plant in Seattle. She noted that it took the world a while to credit women for their work in the war. “We fought together as far as I’m concerned… And so of course, I’ve been fighting hard for that, to get our recognition,” she said.

Pearl Harbor Memorial

The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 Sailors and Marines who lost their lives on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor and commemorates the events of that day.

This year's ceremony takes place as a strong storm packing high winds and extremely heavy rains hits Hawaii; however, there were no plans to cancel the event.

The United States defeated Japan in August 1945, days after U.S. atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed tens of thousands.

07 December 2021, 14:47