71st Pearl Harbor Day to honor heroes: ‘Coming of Age – From Innocence To Valor’

Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet will be keynote speaker for the Dec. 7 ceremony.

National Park Service

The National Park Service and the U.S. Navy will host a joint memorial ceremony commemorating the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor from 7:45 to 9:30 a.m. Dec. 7 at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (formerly known as the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center).

The ceremony will take place on the back lawn of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, looking directly out to the USS Arizona Memorial.

More than 2,000 distinguished guests and the general public are expected to join current and former military personnel, including Pearl Harbor survivors and other WWII veterans, for the annual observance of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

The theme of this year’s historic commemoration, “Coming of Age – From Innocence to Valor,” honors those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces on that fateful day as a legacy of heroics. The attack represented more than a change in America’s status from peace to war. It was a sudden shift from youthful innocence to a searing awareness of the cost and consequences of war.

Heroically, these men and women did not back down. Also not forgotten are the thousands of civilians who witnessed the attack, including the 49 who lost their lives. Young lives and families were changed forever as the nation “came of age” on Dec. 7, 1941 and throughout the war.

Through innovation, courage and sacrifice, Americans joined together – stronger, wiser and more committed to preserving democracy, freedom and peace.

This year’s Dec. 7 ceremony will be co-hosted by Paul DePrey, superintendent, National Park Service, WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, and Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.

Highlights of the ceremony will include music by the Navy’s U.S. Pacific Fleet Band, morning colors, a Hawaiian blessing, a rifle salute by members of the U.S. Marine Corps, wreath presentations, echo Taps and recognition of the men and women who survived the attack of Dec. 7, 1941 and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

This year’s keynote speaker for the Dec. 7 ceremony will be Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Haney is a native of Washington, D.C. and a 1978 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. His operational assignments include four submarines, a submarine tender and two submarine groups.

In 1998, as commanding officer of USS Honolulu (SSN 718), Haney earned the Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale leadership award, which is presented annually to the Navy’s top two COs in the Pacific and Atlantic fleets.

His shore duty tours include, among others, Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Strategic Command, and commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, where today he leads the world’s largest and most powerful fleet.

For the first time, the National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks will share the historical significance of Dec. 7 with 6,000-plus school-age children across Hawaii with a simultaneous reading aloud program. Children attending more than 130 elementary and intermediate schools who are enrolled in afterschool care programs will learn about the real life story of an unlikely friendship between the late Pearl Harbor survivor Richard Fiske and Japanese fighter pilot Zenji Abe.

The book titled, “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship,” is a story of peace and forgiveness and how these men, who were once enemies of war, overcame their hatred and fear for one another. In 1991, as a symbol of peace and friendship, Abe gave Fiske $300 and asked him to lay two roses at the Arizona Memorial each month, one for him and one for Fiske. He also asked Fiske to sound Taps on his bugle after he did this.

Fiske honored this request every month until he died in 2004. Pacific Historic Parks has purchased 175 copies of the book to provide to each participating school.

Special recognition at the ceremony will also be given to:

– Former Navy Chief Ray Emory is a Pearl Harbor survivor and president emeritus of the National Chief Petty Officers Association. Today, Emory is a hero to many survivors and to the families of those killed, being personally involved in identifying remains of “unknowns” and ensuring graves are properly identified at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).

– Former members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), who during WWII, became the first women ever to get behind the controls of American military aircraft and fly non-combat missions. The ceremony will recognize the tremendous contributions made by all women in uniform and women civilians who supported the war efforts on the home front through the building of ships, victory gardens and purchasing war bonds.

At 7:55 a.m., the exact moment the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor began 71 years ago, a moment of silence will be observed. USS Michael Murphy, the Navy’s newest ¬¬guided-missile destroyer at Pearl Harbor, will render honors to the USS Arizona. The Hawaii Air National Guard will fly over the memorial in a “missing man” formation. The ceremony will conclude with a “walk of honor” by Pearl Harbor survivors and other WWII veterans through an honor cordon of military and National Park Service men and women. Public access to the Pearl Harbor 71st Anniversary commemoration

The commemoration is free of charge, and the public is invited to attend. Seats for the general public are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. The visitor center will open early at 6 a.m. Seating for the public will begin at 7:15 a.m.

Limited public parking for the ceremony at the visitor center

Additional parking will be available at Richardson Field. The public is encouraged to arrive early to allow time for parking and going through security at the visitor center.

Limited USS Arizona Memorial public tour schedule

Public tours to the USS Arizona Memorial will be operating on a special schedule on Dec. 7 due to the morning ceremony. The first public tour will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the last tour beginning at 1:30 p.m. Tours will begin every 15 minutes and include a 23-minute movie presentation followed by a short boat ride and visit to the memorial. Tickets are free and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Security

Cameras are permitted; however, due to strict security measures, camera bags, purses, handbags and/or other items that offer concealment are not allowed. Complimentary bag storage is available at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park. The normal storage fee is being waived by the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park for this one day. Dress code

Military dress is summer whites or service equivalent. The civilian dress code for the commemoration is aloha business attire, long pants and collared shirts. Information

For more information about the Pearl Harbor Day 71st Anniversary Commemoration ceremony and special events, visit www.pearlharborevents.com

A series of special events recognizing the 70th anniversary of the USS Bowfin and the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor will be open to the public Nov. 29 through Dec. 9.

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