We fly our flags this day in honor of the young American men and women who died in the surprise air attack on Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu in the then Hawaii Territory 75 years ago – that attack led to the entry of the United States into World War II.
Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, at 7:55 a.m., 351 Imperial Japanese fighter planes, bombers, and torpedo planes attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet homeported in Pearl Harbor. In the two waves of attacks lasting less than two hours, eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged; four were sunk. Nine additional vessels including three cruisers, and four destroyers, were also destroyed in the attack. Many of the fighter planes at the airfield were also affected with 169 aircraft destroyed and another 159 aircraft damaged. Drydocks and airfields were destroyed.
That morning, 2,403 Americans lost their lives; another 1,143 were wounded.
The attack happened without a declaration of war and without warning. On Dec. 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in an address to the joint session of Congress, proclaimed Dec. 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy.”
After Roosevelt’s address to Congress, and after nearly two years from the start of the war, the United States entered World War II by declaring war on Japan. On Dec. 11, 1941, Germany declared war on the United States, and the country became fully engaged in WWII.
On Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we honor those who died in the attack. The flag of the United States will be displayed at the White House, on all U.S. Government buildings, at many local government and business buildings and residents’ homes. The flag should be at half-mast.
As in the months following the attack, we repeat the slogan “Remember Pearl Harbor!”