Never Forget: 71st Anniversary of Attack on Pearl Harbor

By Patrick Burke | December 7, 2012 | 12:08 PM EST

Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.(photo: U.S. Navy Archives)

( - “Yesterday, December 7th, 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.”

That was how President Franklin Roosevelt described for the American people the Japanese attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

On Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, over 2,000 people will gather in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the Pearl Harbor memorial to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the Dec. 7 air and naval attack that killed 2,390 American service members and 48 civilians.

There will be a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, the exact time the Japanese began the attack.

On Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese military sought to debilitate the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and proceeded to attack American ships and aircraft in two waves.

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One day later, on Dec. 8, the United States Congress formally declared war on the Empire of Japan.

President Obama issued the proclamation on Thursday declaring Dec. 7 as a day of remembrance.

“Today, we pay solemn tribute to America's sons and daughters who made the ultimate sacrifice at Oahu. As we do, let us also reaffirm that their legacy will always burn bright -- whether in the memory of those who knew them, the spirit of service that guides our men and women in uniform today, or the heart of the country they kept strong and free,” Obama said.

The U.S. Navy said that this year, the group of 18 Wisconsin veterans will make up the largest group of survivors from a single state ever to return and participate in anniversary ceremonies.

According to the Navy, nearly 2 million people visit Pearl Harbor each year.

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