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Every year on December 7th, Americans across the nation honor those who lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. This year marks the 76th anniversary of that fateful day when 2,393 non-combatants were killed in a surprise attack on the Naval Station in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Attack

On the morning of December 7, 1941, the naval station at Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service. The attack came without warning or a declaration of war, leaving American non-combatants totally unprepared. The attack resulted in the deaths of 2,393 non-combatants and the sinking of four U.S. Navy battleships. Five additional battleships were severely damaged and 188 aircraft were destroyed. As many as 1,178 non-combatants and civilians were also injured in the attack. Within hours of the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt officially declared war on Japan ushering America into World War II.

Historic Sites

Many Americans choose to honor the fallen by visiting Pearl Harbor’s historic sites on Remembrance Day. The most notable sites include:

  • The USS Arizona Memorial, which was placed over one of the four Navy ships that were sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor in honor of the 1,177 crew members who lost their lives;
  • The USS Oklahoma Memorial, which stands in memory of the 429 men who were killed while aboard the USS Oklahoma on December 7th, 1941;
  • The  USS Missouri, which is the last American battleship ever built and the site of the Japanese surrender that ended WWII;
  • The Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, which is home to a number of WWII era planes; and
  • The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, which is now a museum, but was once a formidable submarine that was built one year after the events of Pearl Harbor and is credited with sinking 44 enemy ships.

While many of us may be unable to visit Pearl Harbor on Remembrance Day, there are still a number of ways to honor the fallen. For instance, most government buildings fly the American flag at half-mast on the day commemorating the attack on Pearl Harbor. Many residents choose to honor those who lost their lives with a moment of silence or meditation, while others can visit one of the many veterans’ memorials scattered throughout the northeast.

At Thornton Law Firm, LLP we are grateful for the bravery of the dedicated members of the U.S. military, some of whom, like the courageous heroes at Pearl Harbor, made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and well-being of others across the world.