Pearl Harbor’s dead remembered on 71st anniversary
Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012 9:05 pm
By AUDREY McAVOY
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — More than 2,000 people gathered at Pearl Harbor today to mark the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack that killed thousands of people and launched the United States into World War II.
Ceremonies got under way with a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the exact time the bombing began in 1941.
The crew of a Navy guided-missile destroyer stood on deck while the ship passed the USS Arizona, a battleship that still lies in the harbor where it sank. Hawaii Air National Guard aircraft flew overhead.
The Navy and National Park Service hosted the ceremonies, which were held in remembrance of the 2,390 service members and 49 civilians killed in the attack.
Today’s events also gave special recognition to members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, who flew noncombat missions during World War II, and to Ray Emory, a 91-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor who has pushed to identify the remains of unknown servicemen.
Admiral Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, gave the keynote address. The ceremony also included a Hawaiian blessing, songs played by the U.S. Pacific Fleet band and a rifle salute from the U.S. Marine Corps.
President Obama marked the day on Thursday by issuing a presidential proclamation, calling for flags to fly at half-staff today and asking all Americans to observe the day of remembrance and honor military service members and veterans.
“Today, we pay solemn tribute to America’s sons and daughters who made the ultimate sacrifice at Oahu,” Obama said in a statement. “As we do, let us also reaffirm that their legacy will always burn bright — whether in the memory of those who knew them, the spirit of service that guides our men and women in uniform today, or the heart of the country they kept strong and free.”
The Navy and park service resumed taking visitors to the USS Arizona Memorial, which sits atop the sunken battleship, after the ceremony.
Published in The Messenger 12.7.12