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Silence and Gun Salutes Mark Remembrance of Pearl Harbor

December 07, 1987|United Press International

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — The military remembered today's 46th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor with a moment of silence, prayers and gun salutes for the 2,400 Americans killed on the "date which will live in infamy."

Military officials aboard the ship Arizona Memorial fell silent at 7:55 a.m. today, followed seconds later by F-15 jets from the Hawaii Air National Guard streaking overhead in the "missing man" formation.

The memorial service remembering the exact minute of the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941, also included prayers, wreath presentations, a gun salute and the Marine Corps Buglers playing taps to honor the 2,409 Americans killed and 1,178 wounded.

Ninety-six ships lined the harbor that sleepy Sunday morning 46 years ago when the Hawaiian skies suddenly blackened with Japanese aircraft storming over the horizon.

In less than an hour, 18 ships of the Pacific Fleet were sunk or heavily damaged, with the most famous being the Arizona, whose rusted hulk remains in about 40 feet of oily water just off Ford Island.

The first bomb struck the ship just forward of the bridge and penetrated several decks, exploding in the fuel storage areas.

A fire broke out and spread quickly to the powder magazines, and at 8:10 a.m. the Arizona exploded and settled to the bottom of the harbor in less than nine minutes--taking 1,102 men with it.

The next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress.

"Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941--a date which will live in infamy--the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the empire of Japan," Roosevelt said.

"I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire."

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