PROCLAMATIONS ON THIS PEARL HARBOR REMEMBRANCE DAY…
"There are certain things that you learn growing up, and Pearl Harbor is one of them. It’s the day that will live in infamy. How can you forget that?" said University of Florida student Julia Tilford as she made coffee at Books-A-Million on Northwest 13th Street.
That’s how then-President Franklin Roosevelt described the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese bombing of the U.S. Navy base in Hawaii. The attack launched the U.S. into World War II and shaped this country in ways still felt 68 years later. Veterans fear that as their generation dies, so does the significance of Pearl Harbor and the war.
"According to the Veterans Administration, in the year—I believe—2019, there will be about 169,000 World War II veterans living. We’re losing 1,500 a day," said veteran Phil Newman, 86. "Freedom—people today don’t know where it came from. They think it dropped out of the sky. That’s why we need for young people to learn about Pearl Harbor and World War II."
The U.S. Pacific Fleet was in port at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese raid began at about 7:55 AM. Sunk were four battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers, a minelayer and many aircraft. The attack killed 2,401 and wounded 1,282. The intent of the raid was to cripple the fleet from possible involvement in conflicts in which Japan was engaged. Prior to Pearl Harbor, Americans had been divided about entering World War II, much as the county is today divided about involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. The bombing in Hawaii changed that, and most Americans saw participation in World War II as patriotic and necessary.
Groups such as the Patriotic and Historical Alliance of North Central Florida hold events surrounding Pearl Harbor and other key events in World War II. Veterans also visit schools to talk about the war with youngsters.
"These men and women gave it all. To me, they were the greatest generation," said alliance Vice President Richard Rubanick, a Vietnam-era veteran. "You’d be surprised at how many people never heard of World War II."
In observance of the 68th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Gov. Linda Lingle has ordered the Hawaii state flag to be displayed at half-staff Monday, Dec. 7, from sunrise to sunset.
The governor’s proclamation also encourages residents to display the state flag at half-staff at their homes and businesses on that day, which is officially known as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
The governor’s action is in conjunction with President Barack Obama’s proclamation urging federal agencies and interested organizations, groups, and individuals to fly the United States flag at half-staff in honor of those who died as a result of their service at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
The governor’s proclamation follows:
Sixty-eight years ago today, our nation was thrust into a war that would rage across the globe, but ultimately end in victory.
The Empire of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor steeled America’s resolve and brought out the best in our nation, even in its darkest hour. The United States rallied around the people of Hawaii, who would soon become the 50th state.
Each year, on the seventh day of December, we honor and remember the more than 2,000 people who lost their lives in the attack, and give thanks to those who fought bravely throughout the war in the Pacific.
Much has changed since Dec. 7, 1941. The people of Japan and the United States now share close economic, cultural and personal ties and Hawai‘i is currently commemorating 50 years of statehood. However, America still faces threats from abroad, and the men and women of the United States armed forces continue to answer the call to duty.
We truly appreciate those who are serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world for making sacrifices to defend the principles of liberty and democracy.
This year, the National Park Service and commander, Navy Region Hawaii are co-hosting the 68th Anniversary Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration on December 7, 2009 at Naval Station Pearl Harbor’s Kilo Pier.
The ceremony, with the theme But Not in Shame: The Aftermath of Pearl Harbor, will feature a moment of silence; a ship pass-in-review; a missing-man flyover; keynote remarks by author and Naval historian Paul Stillwell; and a presentation of wreaths by Pearl Harbor survivors, each branch of service and representatives of the state of Hawaii.
THEREFORE, I, LINDA LINGLE, Governor of the State of Hawaii, do hereby proclaim Dec. 7, 2009, as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in Hawai‘, and order the Hawaii state flag to be displayed at half-staff from sunrise to sunset.
I also encourage our residents to display the Hawaii state flag at half-staff at their homes and businesses during this time.
Governor, State of Hawaii
The president’s proclamation follows:
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared Dec. 7, 1941, a “date which will live in infamy.” With over 3,500 Americans killed or wounded, the surprise attack by the Imperial Japanese on Pearl Harbor was an attempt to break the American will and destroy our Pacific Fleet. They succeeded in doing neither.
On National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we pay tribute to the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and we honor all those who selflessly served our nation at home and abroad during World War II.On a tranquil Sunday morning, as war raged around the globe, the attack on Pearl Harbor effectively ended American isolation — thrusting our Nation into action. Japanese airplanes had launched an unprovoked assault on our military with immense firepower, and our service members valiantlyanswered the call.
They defended their positions, fought back against the attackers, and cared for the wounded. In that darkest hour, men and women who had considered themselves ordinary found within themselves the ability to do something
extraordinary. And in the months and years that followed, Americans all across the country would respond to Pearl Harbor with firm resolve, many joining our Armed Forces to defend our shores and our freedom.
This courage is not uncommon in the story of America — a story of heroes whose sacrifice and valor speak to their love of comrades and country; and whose goodness guides our quest for lasting peace.
Today, and every day, we draw strength from the moment when the best among us defended an island and a nation from the onslaught of tyranny, and forever altered the course of our history.
The Congress, by Public Law 103-308, as amended, has designated December 7 of each year as “National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.”
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Monday, Dec. 7, 2009, as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. I encourage all Americans to observe this solemn day of remembrance with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I urge all Federal agencies and interested organizations, groups, and individuals more to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff this
Dec. 7 in honor of those American patriots who died as a result of their service at Pearl Harbor.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.