75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack Remembered

FILE – In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, part of the hull of the capsized USS Oklahoma is seen at right as the battleship USS West Virginia, center, begins to sink after suffering heavy damage, while the USS Maryland, left, is still afloat in Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, File)

PEARLHARBOR, Hawaii (AP) —President Barack Obama in Washington issued a statement Wednesday on the 75th anniversary of the attack on PearlHarbor.

Obama says he and first lady Michelle Obama join Americans in “remembering those who gave their lives” on Dec. 7, 1941.

More than 2,300 service people died that day.

Obama said “we can never repay the profound debt of gratitude we owe to those who served on our behalf.”

Thousands, including servicemen and women and members of the public, are expected to attend a ceremony at PearlHarbor on Wednesday to mark the anniversary.

At Bass River Beach in Yarmouth, a ceremony was held to mark the day. Veterans, police officers and other citizens stood by as a wreath was tossed into the Bass River.

“It really changed not only all of America, but the world for so many years. You figure that 17 million people took an active part in World War II that were Americans,” said World War II Navy veteran Walter Von Hone at the Yarmouth ceremony.

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: A wreath was tossed into the Bass River Wednesday to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor

Von Hone served in the Pacific during the war.

“What was accomplished set the stage for many, many more years, most of them of freedom and what people live as they want to,” said Von Hone.

The president said he will visit the U SS Arizona Memorial later this month with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.

Surprise, fear, anger and pride.

That’s what PearlHarbor survivor Jim Downing recalls about the attack that plunged the U.S. into World War II.

Downing plans to return to PearlHarbor Wednesday with other survivors to mark the 75th anniversary of the attack that left more than 2,300 service people dead.

Thousands of servicemen and women and members of the public are also expected to attend the ceremony.

Downing, a 103-year-old resident of Colorado Springs, Colorado, served on the USS West Virginia, which lost 106 men.

He says he spent two hours fighting fires and checking the name tags of the dead so he could write their families personal notes about how they died.

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