Today is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
It was 71 years ago, Dec. 7, 1941, that a surprise attack on U.S. Navy and Army installations at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii prompted U.S. entry into World War II.
Seventy-one years later, Dec. 7 remains, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt christened it, "a date which will live in infamy."
Traditionally, U.S. flags throughout the country are lowered to half-staff in observance of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
Though few living today remember how a beautiful Sunday morning in the Hawaiian islands ended in a deadly act of war, the attack on Pearl Harbor is one which will never be forgotten. While it may be dulled by the passing of time or romanticized in film, Dec. 7, 1941 cannot be forgotten.
Some 84,000 uniformed Americans were on Oahu that day. Of the few thousand still alive today, most are in their late 80s and 90s.
Because of dwindling membership, due to the old age and deteriorating health of its members, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, founded in 1958 and at one time numbering 2,700 members, dissolved Dec. 31, 2011. Children and grandchildren of survivors now continue the annual remembrance ceremonies.
Here are a few facts to reflect on today:
- 2,388 Americans died in the attack
- 1,178 Americans were wounded
- 21 American ships were sunk or damaged
- 323 American aircraft were destroyed or damaged
- 1,177 Americans involved in the attack were serving on the USS Arizona
- 31 Michigan men died aboard the USS Arizona (BB-39 Battleship)
- 333 servicemen serving on the USS Arizona survived the attack
*According to the National Park Service's website.