PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — President Barack Obama marked the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Wednesday by honoring those who gave their lives that day.
“Over 2,400 American patriots lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor — military and civilian, men, women and children,” Obama said in a statement.
“Their sacrifice galvanized millions of GIs and Rosie the Riveters who answered the call to defend liberty at its moment of maximum peril. In the hours after the attack, President Roosevelt promised that ‘the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.’ Thanks to the heroism of a generation, we did.”
The surprise attack on Dec. 7, 1941, killed more than 2,400 Americans and triggered the entry of the U.S. into World War II.
The next day in an address to Congress, President Franklin Roosevelt declared it “a date which will live in infamy.”
The president noted he would be making a historic visit to the USS Arizona Memorial later this month with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“As a testament that even the most bitter of adversaries can become the closest of allies, I look forward to visiting the USS Arizona Memorial later this month along with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,” he said.
“This historic visit will stand as a tribute to the power of reconciliation and to the truth that the United States and Japan — bound by an alliance unimaginable 75 years ago — will continue to work hand-in-hand for a more peaceful and secure world.”
Abe is the first Japanese leader to visit the site since the end of World War II.
“President Obama’s message for the world without nuclear upon his visit to Hiroshima was engraved in the heart of the Japanese people,” Abe said earlier this month. “I will visit Pearl Harbor with President Obama. This will be a visit to soothe the souls of the victims. We should never repeat the ravages of the war.”
In May, Obama was the first sitting U.S. President to visit Hiroshima, where in 1945 the US military dropped a nuclear bomb killing more than 100,000 Japanese men, women and children.
Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor is thought to be a way of reciprocating the commitment shown by Obama to Japan-U.S. relations.