The 76th Anniversary of the December 7, 1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor

Focus and Theme

Japan’s December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and six other military bases on the Hawaiian island of Oahu precipitated America’s entry into World War II, a global conflict. Pearl Harbor endures as a symbol of American resilience and resolve, and the annual commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor fosters reflection, remembrance, and understanding.




In the first year since Imperial Japan attacked Oahu, the United States is still stunned but adapting quickly to new realities – sacrifice, commitment and a need to rise to the challenge in Europe, in the Pacific and on the home front. In Europe, America’s Allies battle Germany’s Nazis and Italy’s Fascists. In the Pacific, the United States leads Allies against Japan’s aggressive military.



Rising to the Challenge

In the first six months of the war the Allies suffer defeat after defeat. But in early June of 1942 the Battle of Midway brings a glimmer of victory – and hope – in the Pacific. By late summer and autumn land on and hold Guadalcanal, the first major rung in a ladder rising toward Imperial Japan. In North Africa, U.S. forces join with our Allies in fighting enemy forces for the first time.


On December 7, 1942, sailors and civilian workers gather at the USS Arizona (BB-39) to pause, reflect and remember those who were killed in Pearl Harbor. A single pole displays an American flag that flutters in a Hawaiian breeze. It is the first of 76 years of remembrances to follow. This year we remember a nation rising to the challenge to eventually create a peaceful and free Japan and Western Europe. Today, here in Pearl Harbor, we celebrate the peace shared between the United States and Japan and all our friends and partners.