Pearl Harbor: 80 years of remembrance


Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

PEARL HARBOR (Dec. 6, 2016) Ray Chavez, the oldest living Pearl Harbor survivor, rings America’s Freedom Bell.

Rita Compton, Howler Staff Writer

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which marked the beginning of the United States’ involvement in World War II. It’s a time to remember those who died during the tragedy and those who lived through it.

To honor those who perished, people from around the world contribute to the 2021 Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade, located in Honolulu Hawaii.

Sunday, December 7th at 7:55 am, the attack on Pearl Harbor began, engaging the United States into the Second World War. Beginning a few minutes before 8:00 am, various Japanese planes swarmed the Naval Station of Pearl Harbor, destroying 20 navy American vessels, eight battleships, and over 300 airplanes. Additionally, over 2,400 died in the attack, and an extra 1,000 were injured.

The president at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt, convened a session of the U.S congress the day prior.

“No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory,” President Roosevelt said. “I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.”

Currently, there are approximately 325,574 lasting survivors from the attack. The eldest survivor, Ray Chavez, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, was assigned to the transport ship USS La Sala, taking part in eight battle campaigns, that is until WWII in 1945.

The aftermath of Pearl Harbor left Chaves with post-traumatic stress disorders, including anxiety and shaking. He was able to get help for his conditions, but passed away Wednesday, November 21, 2018, in his sleep at the age of 106.

240,329 out of the 1 million who were alive when Pearl Harbor was attacked are alive today, but around 900 soldiers are still left at the bottom of the sea.

The United States continues to remember those who passed during the attack on Pearl Harbor.