National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, which is observed annually on December 7, is to remember and honor all those who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. On August 23, 1994, United States Congress, by Pub.L. 103–308, designated December 7 of each year as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is also referred to as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day or Pearl Harbor Day. It is a tradition to fly the Flag of the United States at half-staff until sunset in honor of dead patriots.
The Attack on Pearl Harbor
On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941 America's naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was attacked by the forces of the Empire of Japan. More than 2,400 Americans were killed and more than 1,100 were wounded. The attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships and damaged four more. It also damaged or sank three cruisers, three destroyers, one minelayer and damaged 188 aircraft.
The day after the attack, the United States declared war on Japan and entered World War II. President Franklin Roosevelt, in a speech to Congress, stated that the bombing of Pearl Harbor is "a date which will live in infamy".
It is not a federal holiday. Government offices, schools, and businesses do not close. Some organizations may hold special events in memory of those killed or injured at Pearl Harbor.
Memorials have been built to remember the day and its events. The USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor is a marble memorial over the sunken battleship USS Arizona, which was dedicated in 1962. The memorial remembers all military personnel who were killed in the Pearl Harbor attack. Another memorial is that of the USS Utah, a battleship that was attacked and sunk in the attack. A memorial to honor the crew of the USS Utah was dedicated on the northwest shore of Ford Island, near the ship's wreck, in 1972. The ship was added to the National Register of Historic Places and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989.
In 1990, leading up to the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Congress established the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal. This is also known as the Pearl Harbor Survivor's medal and was awarded to anyone who was in the U.S. Armed Forces and who was present in Hawaii on December 7, 1941 and participated in combat operations that day against the attack. The medal was also awarded to civilians who were killed or injured in the attack. A few years later, Congress amended the law to allow any person who was present in Hawaii on December 7, 1941 and was involved in combat operations against Japanese military forces attacking Hawaii to receive the award. In both instances, there was a limited time period to apply for the award, and it is no longer issued