Major Events of WWII: The Platinum Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day In America - December 7 Celebrations

USS Arizona Memorial, December 7, 2003.
USS Arizona Memorial, December 7, 2003. | Source

A Lifetime Ago For Surviving WWII Veterans

We salute America's Veterans as we celebrate December 7, 2011 as the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, but pay special respects to our WWII Veterans and those of our Allies. The 70th commemoration is the Platinum Anniversary, while the Pearl Anniversary will be the 80th year celebrating the memories of the past event.

Currently, 740 surviving US Veterans of the Second World War die every day. The US Veterans Administration reports that of 16,000,000 who served the US in the war, we have 1,700,000 living, decreasing at the daily rate. The 70 years past is a lifetime for many people and these veterans are in largely their 80s and 90s. Those who claimed an older age in order to serve as youngsters of 14 and who survived to 2011 are in their middle 80s. Despite the decades intervening, these individuals will never forget December 7, 1941 and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

At the current rate of death among this group of veterans, the last survivor is scheduled to pass in 2298 days or a little over 6 years from today - sometime in 2017. That is an incredible 99 years after the end of World War I, which was to end all wars, but did not.

Unfortunately, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association disbands on December 31, 2011 and this leaves over a million veterans without the anchor of mutual support provided by the organization. it is operated by the survivor themselves, who are aging past a desire to continue to do so.

Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor | Source

Battleship USS Arizonal Memoiral

USS Arizona Memorial. The ship is sunken and beneath the building. Visitors can see it from the memorial.
USS Arizona Memorial. The ship is sunken and beneath the building. Visitors can see it from the memorial. | Source
  • Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a newer hitorically relevant site located on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor. It compries a set of World War II-era hangars that still how the scars of America's first aviation battlefield. It's the newest addition to the Pearl harbor intallations for 2011 - 2012.

70th-Year Remembrance Ceremonies in 2011

At 11:00 AM on December 7, 2011 a ceremony for survivors and those who gave their lives at Pearl Harbor will be held at the USS Arizona Memorial and World War II Valor In the Pacific National Monument in Hawaii. The commemoration's title for 2011 is Enduring Legacy.

The sunken battleship lies as a symbol of the attack against the United States, located in the water beneath the memorial building, where visitors may view it from the memorial's airy viewing area above. US Navy White Boats ferry visitors from shore to the memorial building, where they view a film about the site and event, view a model of the memorial complete with sunken ship, and view the battleship itself. The Shrine Room is exquisite in its architecture and lighting, displaying the names of US Sailors and Marines that perished on December 7, 1941. Additional small memorials to other ships on site that day are offered as well.

This Platinum Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack may constitute the last large commemoration ceremony at the memorial on the anniversary date. Usual remembrances include honor guards, speakers, presentations, recognitions, music, wreath laying, tours, and several other agenda items. Groups of all ages from across the nation attend these commemorations and pay their respects to the survivors that attend..

The survivor's association leadership has stated that because of advanced age and declining health, increasingly fewer of our WWII survivors are attending this and other yearly remembrance ceremonies.. In our digital world, ceremonies might be broadcast via the Internet and family representatives could attend such ceremonies in the future as the events are broadcast home, but this has yet to be considered.

Journalist 3rd Class Sunday Williams of Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs, reenlists in shrine room on USS Arizona Memorial by her leading CPO, Chief Journalist Tim Paynter. Engraved on the shrine room wall are the names of 1,177 Sailors and Marines
Journalist 3rd Class Sunday Williams of Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs, reenlists in shrine room on USS Arizona Memorial by her leading CPO, Chief Journalist Tim Paynter. Engraved on the shrine room wall are the names of 1,177 Sailors and Marines | Source

Views Of the Pearl Harbor Survivors

Howard Bakeman is a 93-year-old from Mobile, Alabama. He personally attends every Pearl Harbor Day remembrance in Hawaii and as many military funerals and similar events as possible. His reason, he says, is that he feels an obligation to remember publicly the sacrifices of those service people who did not survive. This is remarkable determination. [reference: http://blog.al.com/live/2011/12/pearl_harbor_70th_anniversary.html, retrieved 12/04/2011]

For the 2011 event in Hawaii, Mr. Bakeman reports only three survivors are scheduled to attend in person. Sources in the news state that as many as 120 will be present. Even though the survivors' association is disbanded across the country, Pearl Harbor Survivors that continue to live can participate in their local annual commemorations of the event, if they choose.

Newest Battle References

December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World
December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World

By Craig Shirley. One December 7, 1941 the America First movement ended and the US shed its isolationism. Detailed account of the 31 days of December 1941. Released December 2011.

 

Pearl Harbor Controversy

While some middle and high school texts may indicate that Pearl Harbor was the sole site of attack in 1941, several other locations in the Pacific were also bombed by Japan.

These places are Guam, Malaysia (then called Malaya), Midway Islands, the Philippines, Thailand and Wake Island.

All of the places surrendered to the Japanese from within a few hours to early in 1942, except Hawaii and the Midway Islands, who maintained independence. See the map below for the location of these attack sites.

In addition to these land sites, the Japanese bombed two major British battleships in the Pacific, effectively crippling the British Navy in that region.

At Least 7 Sites Were Attacked On December 7, 1941

show route and directions
A markerPearl Harbor -
Pearl Harbor, HI, USA
[get directions]

Did not surrender.

B markerMidway Islands -
Midway Islands, United States
[get directions]

Did not surrender.

C markerWake Island -
Wake Island
[get directions]

Fell December 11, 1941.

D markerGuam -
Guam
[get directions]

Fell December 10, 1941.

E markerThe Phillipines -
Philippines
[get directions]

Philippines held their own until January 1942, when they fell to Japan.

F markerMalaysia -
Malaysia
[get directions]

Finally fell in early 1942.

G markerThailand -
Thailand
[get directions]

Succumbed to Japan in just hours.

Impact Of the Patriotic Education Travel Program

Survivors Revisit Pearl Harbor, Okinawa and Hiroshima

This 70th anniversary is special in a larger way than any previous anniversary in recent decades. In the past, WWII Veterans of both Japan and the USA met in Japan to remember the war and to work through sad memories of loss. In 2011, the Patriotic Education Travel Program (founded 2009) received greater media play as it joined American WWII Survivors with college students and high school students studying the war on a historic field trip back to Pearl Harbor, Okinawa, and Hiroshima.

Bill Muehleib, himself in his late 80s, is National President of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. He reports an estimated 8,000 survivors of Peal Harbor still living.These individual are living caches of history and as many as possible are honored by the Patriotic Education Travel Program. They are hosted in the field trip and speak to students about their experiences in WWII, for which the college students are profoundly thankful.The students raise their own money for the trip and pay for the veterans and as many of the veterans' wives as possible.

Some of the college students going on these trips on December 7 and throughout the year are themselves US Veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This has been the opportunity for different generations of veterans to share their experiences and honor one another.

The Young Marines is another outfit that goes to Pearl Harbor for 2011. They are nearly 300 members in the age range of 8 to 18 and they want to honor the Pearl Harbor Survivors.

Overhead view of the Memorial with Ford Island in the background. Stations where other ships were docked on 12/7/1941 are maintained in memorial as well.
Overhead view of the Memorial with Ford Island in the background. Stations where other ships were docked on 12/7/1941 are maintained in memorial as well. | Source

© 2011 Patty Inglish

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Comments 31 comments

platinumOwl4 profile image

platinumOwl4 5 years ago

Hello Patty, can you elaborate on what caused the Japanese to think they could win and can the Japanese be use as a pattern for other groups to overcome setbacks of this magnitude?


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

Are you asking about setbacks to groups "sneak-attacked" by organizations like the WWII Japanese govt/military and the eventual use of atomic weapons by the US and the opposing notion of Kamikaze? -- Japan had defeated the larger China and Russia in 1905 and aimed to continue to gain power to develop a large East Asian Empire. A Korean senior citizen friend of mine who lived through Japanese aggressions before and during their WWII attacks told me that Japan was 'always attacking someone or some country; hungry for power and control in a vice-like mindset that they deserved to win.'

This resembles the North Korean dictator's belief that he himself is God once he takes the office and he feels entitled. The starving citizenry in N. Korea are permitted only 1 meal a day - often ground corn cob gruel, watched by the army that metes out punishment for eating more than that if food - garbage - can be found. The army is large, because the young people join for food. This makes N. Korea dangerous in nuclear arms attainment, for the dictator feels he is more powerful than any other leader on Earth. Is this a case of religion causing or threatening war, or of mental illness causing war? The same might be asked of some pre-WWII Japanese actions.


USHISTORY4YOU profile image

USHISTORY4YOU 5 years ago from Lemoore California

Remember Japan had only been a part of the outside world since 1853 when Commode Perry force Japan to open her ports to outside trade.Japan had to be forced into the modern world,and yet within a little over 50 years the Japanese defeated what was seen as a major World power in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905-06.The Japanese had begun that war with a surprise torpedo attack on the Russians at Port Arthur that was highly effective. The Japanese learned what a lot of great military minds already knew. Surprise was a very effective tactic.

That one of the things that's surprising when you hear people talking about Japan's dastardly surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.What were they supposed to do,warn us?

The targets that the Japanese missed at Pearl Harbor were more important the the targets they hit that day.By bad luck they missed both American Carries that were in the Pacific at that time. But it was bad planning that caused them not to destroy the tank farm holding 50 million gallons of aviation fuel. Every ounce of that fuel had been transported to Hawaii,and the loss of that fuel would have set the American war effort back by months.

Admiral Yamamoto told his superiors that he and the forces under his command could run wild in the Pacific for six months once the war began with America,after that he could make no guarantees.The Battle of Midway was fought almost six months to the day after Pearl Harbor. After Midway the Japanese would be on the defensive for the remainder of the war.

Sorry if I got a little long winded there. I tend to go on.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

Don't apologize; it's great stuff. Yeah, open ports to the outside world and take them over, too.

"What were they suppose to do, warn us?" Exactly; and you made me laugh out loud with this. It's not a Bugs Bunny film with Elmer Fudd -- "Oh, Amerwica, here we come, you wascally capitawists..."

Some writers think that we did receive warning signs in documents received in the Whitehouse; others don't see the correspondence that way.


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Patty: I always thought that the platinum anniverary for anything is ( 75 )years not 70 years. The thought is still the same though we should never forget such a tragedy.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

Yes, the event is the priority. My lists show 70 as "Platinum", and other lists show 70 through 75 all as "Diamond" but who cares, there's no law for it. There are dozens of lists of anniversary-symbols in America alone. I want 70 to mean "Pearl" to match the event this year, but we have enough lists already. Some of these Survivors will be still alive then. I hope they will still be recognized.


Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 5 years ago

Wow Patty, this just brought me to tears. I am editing a magnificent memoir currently that retells of WWII from the author's Navy experience ~ Part of me feels like it is going on right now. I am so sorry to hear of the disbandment of Pearl Harbor Survivors ~ Especially when we have survivors still living. Thank you for bringing this to light. Blessings of continued Thanks~Living, Earth Angel


stars439 profile image

stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Your hub is a wonderful tribute to all who served in World Wars, and in World War 2. The sweet Navy girl in the photo is awesome. They are so young and beautiful, our young soldiers with patriotic hearts. Pearl Harbor was hit hard by those war planes. My dad was a combat infantry soldier that fought in the jungles overseas. I loved him so so much, and I was so blessed to have a father that I could look up to that had good ethics, and was decent. I wish all young brothers, and sisters in the world could have a wonderful mother, and father like my brother, and I had. Your hub is beautiful , and a learning experience. God Bless You Precious Heart.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

EarthAngel - That war will continue until all war ceases. That memoir will be increadible!

Stars - Isn't that photo of the Navy woman's reenlistment enchanting and powerful? I had two uncles that fought in WWII - one in Europe and one in the Pacific I think. We must remember. Thanks for your kind words.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Fascinating hub! My husband's grandfather was stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked (obviously he survived), but he passed away more than 12 years ago. My own grandfather served in the Army in the South Pacific and never talked about his experiences, other than to say they were horrific. He, too, is not with us any longer. I am amazed that 740 WWII veterans die each day.

We must remember, you are right.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

My relative that survived WWII in Europe did not speak of it, other than to tell us all one time about the cold lack of welcome he had on his return. That was sad and more typical of Vietnam returns, but he was safe and had a great career afterwards.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

We must remember,...always.... Up and awesome.


Marymac47 5 years ago

What a powerful and well-written Hub! My Dad and Uncles were there --- Daddy didn't talk much ---- just lots of nightmares that woke me up as a child. My husband is a Nam Vet with PTSD!! What it does to our men! So many nice comments! -- We have all experienced, in one way or another, living with our War Heroes! Thanks to All of You!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

That is sad that the organization is disbanding at the end of this year. Maybe a few people will organize an informal group on their own.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

I feel we must continue to honor the Pearl Harbor Survivors every year on December 7. You know a few will live to be 110.

Pop - thanks for the votes! Marymac47 - One of my closest friends had PTSD from Vietnam activity for decades, sometimes very badly. It was hard to watch, but it was milder at times.

randomcreative - That's a good idea. I'm thinking local VFW posts will do something as well, especially of people contact these places and ask about it.


Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 5 years ago

We have an active Veteran community on the Central Coast of California; they will be holding a Pearl Harbor Memorial this year and will continue long into the future I am sure! Although I wasn't born under decades later, I will be there with friends who were! Blessings Patty! Earth Angel!


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Hello Patty ~ This important piece of literature and commemoration must be seen and read by more than our Hub community. The younger generations must learn our history and those who have the wisdom must help us get onto a path towards peace. Today is the anniversary of my father's passing. He was a veteran of WW11 and also, as many report, did not speak of the horror's he witnessed and all he did during those years for the war efforts. All I can say is too many lives lost on all sides. I cannot understand the mentality of war if negotiation and compromise can be found. I pray in our lifetime. Blessings, Debby


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

I am sorry for the loss of your father, Debby. You and I and Earth Angel and, I hope, many others will continue to remember Pearl Harbor and the sacrifice and contribution of our veterans.

i hear that local American Legions will be holding local celebrations each December 7, so I will look for those and report back on each anniversary.

Thanks for sharing your experiences and insight.


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Dear Patty. Many thanks for your condolences. Let us know when you post news of local celebrations. I have also just written an honorarium poem for the energy of Japan and linked to this page. I hope the positive light side will shine through in the future. Blessings, Debby


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

That sounds like a great link, Debby. I'll link back.

I'll create a Hub with information from American Legion posts and others and post it after collecting several places that will participate across the nation.


Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 4 years ago

Dearest Patty,

There were a few local Pearl Harbor Memorials with our WWII vets proudly yet quietly in attendance. Some were in wheelchairs and some walked with canes. All had witnessed things that no human (or any living being) should be subjected.

I was struck at the end by how many people, not born at the time of Pearl Harbor, who had so little knowledge of the event, immediately resumed their electronic connections and a busy life as usual.

Being still, holding the thoughts and reflections, seemed impossible for them. Actually, it wasn't that it was impossible, it was it never entered their consciousness to do so.

That is scary to me. If we as a people can't absorb the lessons from previous loss, we are doomed to repeat them again and again. With our high tech world, even 9/11 seems like a distant memory to many.

If we can't be peaceful and present for just a few moments at a Memorial, we are going to have a hard time holding and promoting peace everywhere.

Thank you for keeping this in the forefront of our consciousness and awareness.

You are the BEST.

Blessings always, Earth Angel


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

That sort of mindset helped holocaust deniers get a foothold in society, so we see that and must refuse to allow that to happen to other history. We will keep taking about it. Thanks, Earth Angel.


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Earth Angel. Thanks for these observations about a generation brought up on stimulation. I hope that methods of healing the soul and spirit will begin to seep into the educational system [like turn off TV week] and many have instituted yoga or meditation sessions into their daily routine. How can we learn from the past if we do not even know what it is? Again, that is why Patty's article plays such an important role in creating awareness. Blessings, Debby


Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 4 years ago

I agree Debby, Patty is the BEST for sharing really important information with a balanced and fair (written) voice. I don't have TV and practice meditation and yoga twice daily; have for decades. My god-children, however much I adore them, can't sit still for five seconds. Three of them thought Pearl Harbor was just a "movie!" The little one thinks 9/11 was just a movie! Thank you to writers who help spread more consciousness! Blessings always, Earth Angel


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Just a movie!! - The 85-year-old concentration camp survivor I interviewed in 1998 would be shocked by that fact.

It's true that much misinformation flies in wikis and biased media, until someone that was THERE (or their ancestors were and left their diaries) corrects it. Youth can see these things in our museums at Pearl Harbor and Wright Patterson in Ohio. Thank God! I saw the violin there (WP) that was played by a child forced to entertain Nazi officers. Profound.

Whatever reliable records I find in the "vault" and in museum archives, you can rely that I will write about them. If anyone knows someone old, they should talk to that person and take notes. :)


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

EarthAngel ~ Such a state of affairs if generations of youngsters have no concept of history that taught humanity many important lessons. We must always remember! Please teach your god-children when they are of appropriate age. And, I do admire you for instituting the meditative practices into your life! blessings, Debby


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia

Great Hub don't forget Darwin was bombed too shortly after..


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for reminding me, Barry.


xeroerror profile image

xeroerror 4 years ago from Maldives

Very detailed informative hub about Pearl harbor memorial.This hub made me remind of the tragedy


CZCZCZ profile image

CZCZCZ 4 years ago from Oregon

What a great hub to read while sitting under some palm trees on a vacation in Hawaii. Lots of people were talking about the anniversary of this important day in our history.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR DAY ON DECEMBER 7, 2012.

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