Nearly 100 Pearl Harbor veterans gathered at the memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii, 73 years after the infamous attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy claimed nearly 2,400 American lives, the Associated Press reported. Survivors were greeted with purple leis as they stood on top of the sunken USS Arizona in remembrance.
Twenty students from St. Jerome Catholic School joined the veterans, The Sun-Sentinel wrote. "They should never forget Pearl Harbor, the day of infamy," World War II veteran, Harry Dembicki, told the news site.
Veterans like by Amber Putnam, who served 30 years in U.S. Air Force were feted by revelers Sunday. "Without them, we wouldn't live in the country we live in," she told the newspaper. "We would live in a much different world, a place I would not want to be in."
But for some of the veterans, like Gilbert Meyer, 91, it’s getting hard to make the trip to Hawaii, the AP reported. Most of the Pearl Harbor survivors relied on the aid of wheelchairs, motorized scooters and canes.
A moment of silence was held at the memorial Sunday at 7:55 a.m. to mark the time Japanese planes dropped their first bombs.
The surprise assault on Dec. 7, 1941 was called “a date which will live in infamy” by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. At that time, the bombing was the most gruesome attack on American soil. With that, the U.S. declared war on Japan and joined World War II two years after it started.
President Obama announced that Friday Dec. 7 would be National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in a statement. “The men and women of the Greatest Generation went to war and braved hardships to make the world safer, freer, and more just,” he said in the announcement, according to the New York Post.
Some pictures from Sunday’s ceremony have been provided below:
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