USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor

Photo By Brett Seymour/NPS

Your guide to 2017 Pearl Harbor Commemoration Events

From educational to ceremonial, there’s something for everyone.

Pearl Harbor is consistently one of the most visited destinations in Hawaii. The historical site brings to mind the words of President Roosevelt, who called December 7 “a date that will live in infamy.”

This year marks the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Here are a few ceremonies and activities happening to mark its anniversary that teach more about the day and what can be learned from it.

Sunday, December 3

“Journey Home to the USS Arizona” preview screening

This documentary, presented by the World War II Foundation and narrated by Matthew Broderick, tells the story of Raymond Haerry Sr., a USS Arizona survivor who passed away in 2016 at the age of 94. His family made the journey to Pearl Harbor to place his ashes in the sunken ship, one of Haerry’s last requests. Free with museum membership, $25 general, $15 kamaaina (Hawaii resident) and military. 2 p.m., Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, 319 Lexington Boulevard, Honolulu, pacificaviationmuseum.org.

Wednesday, December 6

Blackened Canteen Youth Symposium

Each December 6, Japanese and American citizens gather at the USS Arizona Memorial to both acknowledge the tragedy of war and the promise of peace through the Blackened Canteen Ceremony—a WWII-blackened canteen containing bourbon is poured into the water from the Arizona Memorial as an offering to the spirits of the fallen. After the ceremony, a symposium will be held with Dr. Hiroya Sugano, caretaker of the Blackened Canteen, along with several WWII veterans.  

The speakers will address themes of forgiveness, reconciliation and friendship that’s possible after war. Students are encouraged to attend this free event. Register online to reserve your space and base access. 10 to 11 a.m. Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, 319 Lexington Boulevard, Honolulu, (808) 445-9137, pacificaviationmuseum.org.

Thursday, December 7

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration

The ceremony commemorating the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor will take place at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument’s Pearl Harbor Visitor Center lawn. This year’s keynote speaker will be Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steve Twomey, who wrote “Countdown to Pearl Harbor.” Free, open to the public. Parking will be available at Aloha Stadium with free shuttles provided between Pearl Harbor and Aloha Stadium. 7:50 a.m. to 9:15 a.m., 1 Arizona Memorial Place, pearlharborevents.com.

Thursday, December 7

Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade

This annual Waikiki parade honors Pearl Harbor survivors, veterans and active duty military and their families with marching bands, floats and a decorated Cobra Helicopter. The event starts with an opening ceremony at Fort DeRussy at 4:30 p.m., and the parade begins traveling down Kalakaua Avenue to Kapiolani Park at 6 p.m. It ends with a closing ceremony at the Waikiki Shell at 7:30 p.m. Free, open to the public, pearlharborparade.org.

Pearl Harbor Youth Day

Saturday, December 9

Families and visitors of all ages are invited to explore the special presentations, exhibits and hands-on activities that explore the experience of those who grew up in Hawaii during WWII. Attendees will get to climb into Pacific Aviation Museum aircraft cockpits, and the American Girl doll company will host activities and giveaways related to Nanea, a new doll, whose story is based on the experiences of Pearl Harbor children. Free to students 18 years and younger. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, 319 Lexington Boulevard, Honolulu, pacificaviationmuseum.org.