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It's Official: Today Is Pearl Harbor Day

It is 'a day that will live in infamy,' and Gov. Brown ordered all flags in the state flown at half-staff.

Until the final days of 1941, Americans were secure in the idea that their shores were safe from outside attack. 

On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown recognized the "Pearl Harbor Day," the shocking Dec. 7, 1941 attack by Japan that propelled America into World War II the following day. 

Pearl Harbor survivors were honored at a ceremony Friday morning at Coast Guard Island in Alameda that included the placing of a wreath, a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps. Vice Admiral Paul Zukunft, the commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area, and Rear Admiral Christopher Colven, the Coast Guard Pacific Area deputy commander, participated in the ceremony.

It was a somber event to commemorate the lives lost 71 years ago.

At 7:48 a.m., the Imperial Japanese Navy sent fighter aircraft and torpedo planes to Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, where the U.S. Pacific Fleet berthed. Two waves of attacks ensued, intended to prevent the U.S. from interfering in Japan's march into Southeast Asia.

Eight U.S. battleships were attacked as enlisted men slept or were arising to greet the day: The U.S.S. Arizona. The U.S.S. Nevada. The U.S.S. West Virginia. The U.S.S. California. The U.S.S. Oklahoma. The U.S.S. Maryland. The U.S.S. Tennessee.The U.S.S. Pennsylvania.  Four sunk. More than 2,400 lives lost, including civilians. Several more ships, destroyers, aircraft and submarines were lost.

It shook the nation and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt went to the airwaves calling it "a date which will live in infamy." 

And for decades, that was true. But as time passes, fewer and fewer World War II veterans, and their contemporaries are with us. 

What can you share about what happened at Pearl Harbor on this date, that you share with fellow Patch users? Please put them in the comments section below.

We close with Gov. Brown's proclamation:

Seventy years ago today, the Imperial Japanese Navy mounted a surprise attack on our nation’s fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii. This assault opened the struggle for control of the Pacific that would claim the lives of over 100,000 Americans. In a speech to Congress the following day, President Roosevelt gave the seventh of December, 1941, its immortal name: “a date which will live in infamy.” 


Today, while still deploring the treachery of one country attacking another without provocation, we remember with awe the valor of those who defended Pearl Harbor, and the many more who answered their country’s call in the ensuing mobilization. The 2,402 members of the armed forces who gave their lives that day will always live in our hearts as true American heroes. 

NOW THEREFORE I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim December 7, 2011, as “Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.”

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 6th day of December 2011.

 

— Bay City News Service contributed to this report

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