More than 300 survivors of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor are estimated to attend various events organized to mark the seventy-fifth anniversary, expected to be the last time veterans of that day of infamy will be present in large numbers. The solemn anniversary is being marked with commemorations, prayers, performances, and parades that will continue at various locations through Dec. 11.
Organizers of the many events marking National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and the seventy-fifth anniversary commemoration activities hope that a combination of family-friendly attractions and a concerted effort to leverage modern tools of social media will inspire a new generation to learn about the service and sacrifice of the first Americans on U.S. soil to come under fire in World War II.
The Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, located on Ford Island and still part of an active U.S. Navy base, will dedicate on Dec. 4 the restored 150-foot weather tower that was converted to a control tower after the attack. The event will feature a performance by the Morgantown High School Band from West Virginia, and be followed by the world premiere of a documentary, Remember Pearl Harbor, which features interviews with veterans and survivors on both sides, including Mitsuo Fuchida, the Japanese pilot who led the attack. Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams and survivors of the USS Arizona are expected to attend the screening.
Dozens of events both public and private are scheduled at locations around the area, including one that has a 20-year history: Dr. Hiroya Sugano has been offering a solemn gesture of reconciliation for 20 years, with a blackened canteen in hand that was recovered from the wreckage of a B-29 Superfortress that collided with another B-29 over Shizuoka, Japan, in 1945. The 23 Americans killed in that collision were buried among the Japanese victims of the bombing raid, and the canteen has become a symbol of post-war reconciliation. A peace offering in the form of whiskey poured from the canteen into the harbor from the USS Arizona Memorial will be made Dec. 6 in a private ceremony co-hosted by the museum and the National Park Service.
“A key focus of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor will be a brighter future in our relationship with Japan and the celebration of 71 years of peace between us,” the commemoration committee notes on its website.