73rd Pearl Harbor Day commemoration events to be held on Oahu Dec. 7
This Sun., Dec. 7, the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument will host memorial and commemorative ceremonies marking the 73rd anniversary of the day that instigated the U.S.’ entry into World War II.
The National Park Service and the U.S. Navy will host an early morning joint memorial ceremony on the main lawn of the Pearl Harbor visitor center in view of the USS Arizona Memorial. A moment of silence will be held at 7:55 a.m.(HST)—the exact time the Imperial Japanese Navy aerial attack began on Dec. 7, 1941.
This year, four of the eight remaining survivors from the USS Arizona, as well as the last living Ford Island civilian survivors will be in attendance. And, for the first time, the service will be webcast for the public. Pearl Harbor survivors and WWII veterans will offer “behind the scenes” commentary and interviews throughout.
This year’s ceremony theme, “Preserving the Memory,” will focus on the importance of sharing and teaching historical events so that future generations can honor the past. The webcast, in accordance with the theme, will allow the day’s events to reach a broad audience. Visitors to the Valor in the Pacific National Monument are also encouraged to browse their collection of artifacts—including letters, diaries, photographs and interviews—that share the significance of the area’s historical events.
More than seven decades after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared Dec. 7, 1941 as “a date which will live in infamy,” tangible proof of the day’s events are still visible at Pearl Harbor. Machine-gun strafing holes from Imperial Japanese fighter planes still dot the now unused runway at Ford Island and airplane hangars at Hickam Air Force Base. Oil, sometimes called “black tears” still seeps up from the sunken USS Arizona, beading the surface of the water at the battleship’s memorial. The battleship is the final resting place for many of the 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives during the attack, as well as for crew members who survived but later wished to be interred there. The number of American casualties on the day of the attack totaled more than 2,300 sailors, soldiers and civilians.
Nearly four years after the Pearl Harbor attack propelled the United States into World War II, Imperial Japan’s formal surrender took place in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri. The “Mighty Mo” battleship is now permanently anchored in Pearl Harbor, a ship’s length from the USS Arizona and its memorial.
This year’s Pearl Harbor Day official commemoration ceremonies will begin early Sunday morning at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument visitor center and continue into the afternoon at multiple Oahu locations. Because of the day’s events, there will be a limited tour schedule for visitors wishing to visit the USS Arizona Memorial (between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. only).
Free and open to the public day-of commemoration events scheduled for Sun. Dec. 7 include:
• Pearl Harbor Day Ceremony “Preserving the Memory”— The ceremony will honor USS Arizona and all Pearl Harbor survivors on the anniversary of the 1941 attack with a Hawaiian blessing, wreath presentation, cannon salute, music, the raising of colors and a Navy aircraft flyover. At precisely 7:55 a.m., the exact moment the attack began, there will be a moment of silence.
7:45 to 9: 30 a.m. on the main lawn of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. The event has limited seating on a first-come-first-served basis. Public seating begins at 7:15 a.m., the visitor center will open at 6 a.m. Shuttles will run between the visitor center and Aloha Stadium’s spillover parking. Cameras are permitted, but note that handbags are not allowed for security reasons. Storage will be provided. The suggested civilian dress code is “aloha business attire, long pants and collared shirts.”
• Barbers Point Remembrance Ceremony— A ceremony to honor the Marines who fought and died at the Ewa Marine Corps Air Station. The event will be hosted by the Aloha Chapter of the Marine Corps League and the Honolulu Council of the Navy League of the United States.
7:45 a.m. at the Barbers Point Golf Course.
• Blackened Canteen Ceremony—In a show of peace and reconciliation and to honor those who served, the Director General of the Japanese Zero Fighter Admirers’ Club will pour bourbon whiskey from a WWII-blackened canteen into the water from the USS Arizona Memorial.
11 a.m. to 12: 15 p.m. at the USS Arizona Memorial. Free admission with USS Arizona Memorial ticket. Tickets available beginning at 6 a.m. on Dec. 7 from the site’s desk.
• USS Oklahoma Memorial Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance— A ceremony held on Ford Island by the National Park Service will honor the 429 crewmen who lost their lives on the USS Oklahoma during the Pearl Harbor attack.
1:30-2:30 p.m. A free shuttle to Ford Island leaves from the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, adjacent to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, every 15 minutes beginning at 12: 30 p.m. until 1:15 p.m.
• Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade— A processional of Pearl Harbor survivors, military and government officials, as well as marching bands from the U.S. Mainland and Hawaii will make their way from Fort DeRussy Beach Park to Kapiolani Park.
5-7 p.m., Fort DeRussy Beach Park to Kapiolani Park.