Pearl Harbor Attack Remembered on 70th Anniversary

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Wednesday marked the 70th anniversary of the Japanese sneak attack on U.S. military forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

On Dec. 7, 1941, air and naval forces of the Empire of Japan conducted an air raid on the U.S. naval and Army Air Corps bases at Pearl Harbor, killing more than 2,500 U.S. military personnel.

Five battleships were sunk, three destroyers wrecked, a minelayer and target ship capsized, two cruisers were badly damaged and many other ships needed repairs. More than 180 U.S. airplanes were destroyed.

Reporter Lee Webb shares a special memory that he associates with this day.  Click play to watch. 

The attack shocked the nation and pulled the U.S. into World War II, which was already raging in Europe.

In a speech before Congress on Dec. 8. 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt asked for a declaration of war against Japan, calling Dec. 7 a day "a date which will live in infamy."

Veterans Remember

About 120 survivors of the attack were to assemble at Pearl Harbor in a special ceremony Wednesday to commemorate thr day and pass their stories to the next generation.

They will observe a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time -- the moment the attack began seven decades ago.

President Barack Obama hailed veterans of the attack in a statement proclaiming Wednesday "National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day."

"Their tenacity helped define the Greatest Generation and their valor fortified all who served during World War II. As a nation, we look to December 7, 1941, to draw strength from the example set by these patriots and to honor all who have sacrificed for our freedoms," he said.

Very few World War II survivors are still living. An 18-year-old soldier in 1941 would be 88 today.

An estimated 1,300 veterans from the conflict pass away every single day.

*** Hear President Franklin Roosevelt's speech on Dec. 8, 1941 as most Americans heard it live on the radio.  President Roosevelt asks Congress for a declaration of war against the Empire of Japan, following the Japanese attack on U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Audio clip runs 4:50.

 

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