The 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor will be commemorated Tuesday during a ceremony in Norco, featuring a 21-gun salute, patriotic music and recollections from that “Day of Infamy” which led to the United States going from neutral to Allied leader in World War II.
The Lake Norconian Club Foundation will hosting the commemoration, themed “From Pearl Harbor to Afghanistan: We Will Not Forget.” The free public ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in front of the George Ingalls Veterans Memorial Plaza, 3737 Crestview Drive.
The event is intended to honor all service branches, not only the U.S. Navy, which will have a large presence, with representatives from the nearby Corona Naval Surface Warfare Center, part of U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command, on hand.
Rear Adm. Stephen Barnett, commander of Naval Region Southwest, will be the keynote speaker and will impart a brief history of Dec. 7, 1941, as well as pay homage to those who made the ultimate sacrifice that day.
More than 2,400 U.S. soldiers, sailors and Marines died defending the Hawaiian naval installation from Japanese attackers in a two-hour air assault. The following day, Dec. 8, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared war on Japan, which led to the Axis powers all declaring war on the U.S., marking the nation’s official entry into World War II.
There will be a Color Guard presentation during the commemoration Tuesday, followed by a 21-gun salute, which is considered among the highest forms of displaying respect in a military ceremony, and performances by Bob Hope’s USO “Harmony Dolls,” who will sing several patriotic songs.
Just before 8 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese torpedo bombers, dive bombers and fighters, altogether numbering more than 350 aircraft, arrived in two waves, permanently sinking two battleships, the USS Arizona and Utah. The Arizona’s losses totaled 1,177 — the highest of any ship in the harbor. Most of the military vessels that went down in the surprise attack were resurrected and deployed to fight again.
Bellows, Hickam and Wheeler airfields were also bombed, as well as the installations at Ewa, Ford Island and Kaneohe Bay, inflicting major damage.
Imperial Japan carried out the attack in an attempt to cripple the U.S. Pacific Fleet as it sought domination over much of Asia.