Remembering Pearl Harbor, Oahu 75 years ago

Rear Adm. John Fuller

Rear Adm. John Fuller

Rear Adm. John Fuller

Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific

Seventy-five years ago young military service members on Oahu—most of them in their teens or early 20s—and most away from home for the first time—went about their daily lives.

Their life would change forever on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941. And then their generation would change the world.

The Second World War began for the U.S. with Japan, Germany and Italy as our enemies. It ended with a victory for freedom over tyranny and fascism. The result was greater prosperity and peace.

Enemies can become friends. The best of friends, in fact, as we witnessed during RIMPAC 2016 when we trained with our allies and partners Japan, Germany and Italy.

Now, each year on and around Dec. 7, especially in Hawaii, we pause to reflect on the power of reconciliation, readiness and resiliency. This year’s theme is “Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future.”

The eyes of the world will focus on Pearl Harbor in the first week of December as media from around the world visit to cover the 75th anniversary of the attack.

Our returning survivors and veterans will attend the 75th remembrance ceremony Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, hosted by the Navy and National Park Service. The ceremony will begin at 7:55 a.m., the exact time the attack started on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago.

In planning, my top priorities for this event remain: to provide access to as many Pearl Harbor Survivors and WWII veterans and their loved ones as we can, and to ensure the ceremony is as special and meaningful— and as safe—as it can be.

Unlike recent years, this year seating is extremely limited at Kilo Pier, with more seat requests than expected from survivors, WWII veterans, family members and dignitaries. This perfectly aligns with the first part of the theme: “Honoring the Past…”

We’re eager to accommodate everyone who’d like to witness the ceremony, so with our National Parks Service partners we planned additional seating at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Because of the extraordinary public interest in this year’s event, we will livestream the entire ceremony online (Details will be published soon at

We look forward to sharing the ceremony with the rest of the world online. That’s in keeping with the second part of the theme: “…Inspiring the Future.”

In recent weeks we hosted celebrities and athletes at various events held to honor our veterans and commemorate the 75th anniversary. The collegiate student athletes who will visit with us for sporting events during the week surrounding Dec. 7 are the same age as the veterans they meet.

Media attention, athletic events and celebrity appearances have one overriding purpose: to ensure we create greater awareness and give more recognition for our World War II veterans and their great service and sacrifice.

The real celebrities are our survivors and World War II veterans who we honor today.

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Category: News