December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor Day marks day of remembrance

10:56 AM, Dec 7, 2010   |    comments
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PEARL HARBOR, HI (AP) - It was a quiet Sunday morning at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941. Then, waves of Japanese planes dove from the sky in the sneak attack that brought the United States headlong into the second World War.

More than 2,000 American military personnel would lose their lives in the minutes that followed.

A day later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt went before a joint session of Congress to ask for a declaration of war, calling December 7th "a date which will live in infamy."

Sixty-nine years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, survivors of the attack are due to gather at the base to remember those killed.

Some 100 survivors, the youngest of whom are in their late 80s, have traveled from around the country to attend Tuesday's ceremony.

The event is being held across the harbor from the USS Arizona, which sank in the attack and where the remains of nearly 1,000 sailors and Marines are still entombed.

The survivors will be welcomed by a new $56 million center for visitors and take a boat out to the memorial that sits on top of the battleship.

The new center has twice the exhibition space as the old one, offering a deeper understanding of the attack.

The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association will continue for a while longer, after its members voted Monday to keep the 52-year-old group alive. In the beginning, there were some 18,000 members; now there only about 3,000 left.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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