80th Pearl Harbor attack anniversary on Oahu to be invite-only event due to COVID-19
HONOLULU (Tribune News Service) — The 80th anniversary of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day — a major milestone in history and for its dwindling survivors who are now around a century old — will be held at Pearl Harbor on Kilo Pier with the relentlessness of COVID-19 still a concern.
The observation organized by the National Park Service and Navy will take place at 7 :45 a.m. on Dec. 7.
“Seating at Kilo Pier will be by invitation only for the health and safety of attending veterans ; however, the NPS at Pearl Harbor National Memorial will be live-streaming the ceremony from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center lawn, “ the park service said in a release.
The ceremony is typically held outdoors at the visitor center and open to the public, but ongoing coronavirus caution resulted in it being moved to the nearby pier on the secured base.
Seating at the visitor center will be determined via Recreation.gov lottery. Additional information on how and when to register for the lottery will be provided at a later date, the park service said. Those with Recreation.gov lottery seats will be required to show proof of vaccination status or a negative COVD-19 test.
The sunken battleship USS Arizona lies offshore from the visitor center, a nationally-revered grave for eight decades for over 900 of the 1, 177 casualties from that one ship.
Each year, on the anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, attacks on Oahu that catapulted the United States into World War II, “ Pearl Harbor survivors, veterans and visitors from all over the world come together to honor and remember the 2, 403 service members and civilians who were killed, “ the Navy, park service and nonprofit Pacific Historic Parks said on the official commemoration website at www.pearlharborevents.com.
Another 1, 178 people were injured. Eight Navy battleships were among the 18 Naval ships either damaged or sunk. On Oahu military bases, 178 aircraft were destroyed, the groups noted.
The 80th Commemoration “will tell the story of the multi-pronged attack across the Pacific and in particular the attack on Pearl Harbor,“ the groups said on the website. “The goal of the commemoration is to ensure that future generations will understand the valor and legacy of those who perished and those who fought throughout the war. The commemoration also highlights the importance of the peace that brought reconciliation, a reconciliation that continues to move forward today in creating a better future for all.”
Last year, one of two surviving ship bells from the battleship USS Arizona was tolled a single time in memory of the military members and civilians killed during a ceremony that was not attended by any World War II veterans, or the public, due to the virus.
A flight of four Air Force F-22 Raptor fighters flew over a placid Pearl Harbor — with one arcing high into the sky in a “missing man “ formation.
“Every year we rightfully honor the heroes who lost their lives on Dec. 7, 1941, “ Lou Conter, then 99, one of two remaining survivors of the Arizona, said in a recorded video presentation from his home in Grass Valley, Calif.
Conter faithfully made the trip out to Oahu every year that his health allowed to remember his shipmates who died on the Arizona when a Japanese aerial bomb pierced its bow and ignited the forward gunpowder magazines.
Last year, COVID-19 prevented Conter and other World War II veterans from making the trip.
“For thousands of people, the first day of the war was also the last day they saw of it, “ Conter said in the video. “The loss of those lives showed us what was at stake. At the same time, their courage ignited a spark that rallied Americans all across the country and redefined the meaning of service.”
Conter, now 100, had hoped to make the trip this time for the 80th, but his doctor recommended against it.
Parking at the visitor center on Dec. 7 from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. will only be permitted for those with Recreation.gov lottery tickets. Motorists should expect traffic congestion on all routes near Pearl Harbor National Memorial the morning of Dec. 7.
The visitor center and parking lots will reopen to the public at 11 a.m. USS Arizona Memorial programs will run, weather and safety permitting, from noon to 2 :45 p.m. Reservations via Recreation.gov will be required. A “standby line “ for space-available seating will not be available Dec. 3 through 7.
USS Nevada, USS Utah, and USS Oklahoma ceremonies will be open to the public, but base access is required. More information on the ceremonies can be found at.
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