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71st anniversary of Pearl Harbor: Nation pauses to remember

December 07, 2012|By Amy Hubbard

Dec. 7, 1941, the date of the military strike by Japan on Pearl Harbor, is being remembered today around the nation.

"71 years ago at 0755 HST was the 1st attack on Pearl Harbor. Taking a moment of silence to remember those lost," reads a recent tweet from the U.S. Navy, which has spurred more than 1,000 retweets and such responses as:

"Never forget. 4 uncles in World War II. I make it a practice to thank veterans, especially ones wearing WWII caps for their service" -- Brendan Ben Feeney

PHOTOS: The attack on Pearl Harbor

In Washington, D.C. and states around the country, flags are being flown at half-staff to remember the more than 2,400 Americans killed and 1,200 injured in the attack.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed the nation's outrage following the attack, which he called  a “date which will live in infamy.” Within an hour, Congress had voted a declaration of war.  As the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday, Roosevelt's speech is considered a masterpieces of political action of the 20th century whose luster has only grown brighter.

From his speech: "Yesterday, December 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."

The number of U.S. military survivors of the attack are dwindling.  Last year, on the 70th anniversary of the event, the national Pearl Harbor Survivors Assn. was officially disbanded. 

In 2011, survivor William Muehleib told the Los Angeles Times of his experience that day:

"While sleeping under tents, he and his fellow soldiers were awakened by the sounds of airplanes and explosions.

" 'I could see underneath the tent flaps Japanese planes dropping bombs. ... I couldn’t believe it was happening.'

"After the initial shock, the soldiers fired with their personal weapons as they awaited trucks to take them to their duty stations, Muehleib said.

"When the trucks came, they piled in and rode over the runways as bombs exploded around them and bullets from Japanese aircraft rained down. They eventually arrived at their gun stations and fought back.

"In the weeks following the attack, there were moments of joy, such as when he came across a friend who had survived; and others of extreme sadness, when he heard of friends who perished."

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