Today marks the 75th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States naval base in Hawaii, by the Imperial Japanese Navy, employing Imperial Japanese fighter planes, bombers, and torpedo planes.
The attack, which started at 07:48 hours, Hawaii Time, came in two waves launched from six Japanese aircraft carriers named Akagi, Kagi , Sōryū, Hiryū, Shōkaku, and Zuikaku.
Heavy damage was inflicted on man and machine resulting in the loss of 2403 American lives (including civilians), 1178 wounded, damage to all of the eight United States Navy battleships sinking four, sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer along with 188 U.S. aircraft.
The purpose of the attack was preventive in nature, in that, the Empire of Japan intended to discourage and disable the United States Pacific Fleet from getting involved in the military actions that it was planning against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States, in the Southeast Asia region.
And true enough, the Pearl Harbor attack was immediately followed by coordinated Japanese attacks, over the next seven hours, on the U.S. occupied Philippines, Guam, and Wake Island and the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Ironically, despite heavy damage to equipment and personnel, and contrary to the Japanese intent, the United States was forced to join the allies in World War II in both the Pacific and European arenas, AND on the very following day, December 8, 1941, America declared war on Japan. However, America’s friendly neighbor declared war on Japan within hours of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
In a speech to Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the bombing of Pearl Harbor “a date which will live in infamy”.
The National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration will be held at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The event, co-hosted by the National Park Service and U.S. Navy, will begin at 7:45 a.m. local time (12:45 p.m. ET).
The ceremonies will be attended by Pearl Harbor survivors and WW II veterans. Speakers will include Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and author and military historian Ian Toll.
All veterans from the state of Maine are invited to participate,” said Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day event coordinator Samuel Cannon, who took over last year for a longtime organizer and World War II veteran Paul Colburn.
Gov. Paul LePage issued a press release Tuesday proclaiming Wednesday Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, “honoring the 75th anniversary of the attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor and paying tribute to the sacrifices of those who were at Pearl Harbor that historic day,” and ordered that flags be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset Wednesday.
Today’s events will include:
* National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration: 7:45 a.m. HST (12:45 p.m. EST) to 9:15 a.m. HST (2.15 p.m. EST) at Kilo Pier, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
* The attack on Hickam Field Ceremony and Reception: 7:50 a.m. HST at Atterbury Circle, Hickam AFB.
* Annual Wreath Presentation: 8 a.m. HST at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
* Freedom Bell Ringing: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. HST at USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park.
* Public Tours of the USCGC Morgenthau: Noon – 4 p.m. HST at Aloha Tower Pier 9.
* 75th Anniversary Pearl Harbor Mass Band Performance: Noon -1 p.m. HST at Battleship Missouri Memorial.
* Fox Sports Pearl Harbor Basketball Invitational – Seton Hall vs. California, Princeton vs. Hawaii: 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. HST at Bloch Arena.
* USS Oklahoma Memorial Ceremony: 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. HST at USS Oklahoma Memorial, Ford Island.
* 25th Infantry Division Commemoration Ceremony: 3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. HST at Fort DeRussy.
* Double Interment Ceremony: 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. HST at USS Arizona Memorial.
* Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade and Public Ceremony: 4:30 p.m. -o 7:30 p.m. HST at Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki.