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The events of December 7, 1941 represent the moment in American history when the Greatest Generation was thrust into the forefront of our nation’s history to play the role of defenders of freedom and peace around the world.


Memorialization of the tragedy that struck America on December 7, 1941 began almost from the moment the last bomb was dropped. On December 7, 1942, salvage operations were suspended on the USS Arizona and a wreath was laid in commemoration of the loss of life of that great battleship.


The USS Arizona continues to serve as a touchstone of the events that occurred 81 years ago.


Prior to 2005, the U.S. Navy conducted a ceremony on the USS Arizona Memorial while the National Park Service conducted a ceremony on the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center lawn. The Navy ceremony was by invitation only due to limited seating capacity on the Memorial; the NPS ceremony was open to the general public.


With a recognition of the importance of maximizing the opportunity to honor our cherished veterans, a joint commemorative ceremony between the U.S. Navy and the National Park Service was established in 2005. The combining of manpower, expertise, and resources are used to support the annual event honoring Pearl Harbor Survivors as well as those who perished during the December 7, 1941 attack on the island of Oahu.


National Park Service

Thomas Lettherman

Pacific Historic Parks 
Aileen Utterdyke

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