Wreaths line edges of The USS Arizona Memorial Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack that brought the U.S. into World War II. (AP Photo)

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: Honoring the Heroism of a Generation

December 7 is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. On this day, we pay tribute to the men, women, and children — military and civilian — who lost their lives 75 years ago. We also honor all who served in the wake of that infamous day, and recognize the sacrifices today’s service members make to carry forward the inextinguishable torch of liberty for generations to come.

In a presidential proclamation recognizing National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, President Barack Obama wrote:

“In memory of all who lost their lives on December 7, 1941 — and those who responded by leaving their homes for the battlefields — we must ensure the sacrifices they made in the name of liberty and democracy were not made in vain. On this solemn anniversary, there can be no higher tribute to these American patriots than forging a united commitment to honor our troops and veterans, give them the support and care they deserve, and carry on their work of keeping our country strong and free.”

President Obama encouraged all Americans to honor our military — past and present — with appropriate ceremonies and activities in observance of this solemn day of remembrance. The President also urged all Federal agencies and interested organizations, groups, and individuals to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff in honor of the American patriots who died as a result of their service at Pearl Harbor.

President Barack Obama participates in a wreath laying ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial, part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (AP Photo)

As a testament of the power of reconciliation that has turned former adversaries into the closest of allies — united by common interests and shared values — President Obama will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Honolulu, Hawaii, on December 27, 2016. The meeting will be an opportunity for the two leaders to review our joint efforts over the past four years to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance, including our close cooperation on a number of security, economic, and global challenges. The President will also accompany Prime Minister Abe to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor to honor those killed.

Wreaths from the various branches of the military and State of Hawaii are presented in shrine room of the USS Arizona Memorial Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Pearl Harbor Veterans from all over the country gathered at the World War II Valor In The Pacific National Monument remembering the 71th anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Honolulu. (AP Photo)

In a statement released in recognition of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, President Obama said:

“We give thanks to the veterans and survivors of Pearl Harbor who faced down fear itself, met infamy with intrepidity, freed captive peoples from fascism and whose example inspires us still. For out of the horrors of war, this Greatest Generation forged an enduring international order, became the backbone of the middle class and powered America’s prosperity. Their courage and resolve remind us of that fundamental American truth — that out of many we are one; and that when we stand together, no undertaking is too great.”

This entry also appeared on DipNote, the U.S. Department of State’s Official Blog.

The USS Arizona Memorial, part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, is seen in the distance, after President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama participated in a wreath laying ceremony there, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (AP Photo)