December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory. We are highly resolved that these dead shall not have died in vain. President Franklin Roosevelt.
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, which is observed annually on Dec. 7, commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii during World War II. Many American service men and women lost their lives or were injured on that day in 1941.
At the direction of the president, the United States flag should be displayed on the homes of Americans, the White House and all U.S. government buildings. The flag should be flown at half-staff to honor those who died in the Pearl Harbor attack.
The attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on that Sunday morning in 1941 came as a surprise to the U.S. Army and Navy and led to great losses of life and equipment. More than 2,000 American citizens were killed, and more than 1,000 were injured. The U.S. also lost a large number of its battleships and nearly 200 aircraft that were stationed in the Pacific region. More than 60 Japanese servicemen were killed, injured or captured. The Japanese Navy also lost five midget submarines and 29 aircraft.
The Japanese military had hoped that the attack on Pearl Harbor would prevent the United States from increasing its influence in the Pacific. However, the events of that day actually led to the escalation of World War II.
The day after the attack, the U.S. declared war on Japan and so entered World War II. Shortly afterward, Germany declared war on the U.S. In the months after the attack, the slogan Remember Pearl Harbor swept the U.S., and radio stations repeatedly played a song of the same name.
In 1991, which marked the 50th anniversary of the attack, Congress established the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal. This also is known as the Pearl Harbor Survivors Medal and can be awarded to any veteran of the U.S. military who was present in or around Pearl Harbor during the attack. The medal also can be awarded to civilians who were killed or injured in the attack.
VFW Post 4031 will host a Pearl Harbor Remembrance ceremony from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Please join us.
Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.