PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — The 2,400 men killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 46 years ago left a legacy and "a need for military preparedness," the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific said Monday.
Adm. Ronald J. Hays said America was thrust into a position of leadership in the free world by the Dec. 7, 1941, air attack on the Pearl Harbor naval base.
In a somber ceremony early Monday, survivors of the attack and representatives of several military commands and veterans' organizations paid homage to the dead.
A brisk wind whipped up whitecaps on the surface of the harbor, scattering flowers from wreaths presented at the ceremony on the Arizona Memorial.
The Arizona was one of 18 ships sunk, destroyed or heavily damaged in the attack, including the battleships Oklahoma, California, West Virginia and Utah.
Flew 160 Missions
Hays, who flew more than 160 missions over North Vietnam during the Vietnam War, said the memorial "serves as a solemn symbol of gratitude from a nation . . . and as a stark reminder of the horrors of war."
He spoke shortly after 7:55 a.m., the time of the Japanese attack. A moment of silence fell over Pearl Harbor, then, seconds later, Hawaii Air National Guard jets flew over the memorial in a "missing man" formation.
Simultaneous ceremonies were held by the National Park Service at the memorial's visitor center on shore.
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) said in brief remarks read at the ceremony that the attack "changed the course of history and indelibly affected the lives of all Americans."
Inouye, who lost an arm in World War II combat in Europe, said he hopes the visitor center will continue its educational effort and that visitors will renew the search for peace in hopes of averting the tragedy of war.
Later in the morning, the personal belongings of a Japanese airman killed in the attack were presented to the Park Service for a museum exhibit profiling a typical Japanese participant in the attack.
At Arlington National Cemetery, near the nation's capital, officers of veterans' organizations placed a wreath of red, white and blue carnations at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
President Reagan proclaimed Monday as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. "We remember Pearl Harbor's dead and wounded and its courageous survivors who fought that day and many other days as well," the President said.