National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, also referred to as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day or Pearl Harbor Day, is observed annually in the United States on December 7, to remember and honor the 2,403 Americans who were killed in the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, which led to the United States declaring war on Japan the next day and thus entering World War II.
In 1994, the United States Congress, by Pub. L. 103–308, 108 Stat. 1169, designated December 7 of each year as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The joint resolution was signed by President Bill Clinton on August 23, 1994. It became 36 U.S.C. § 129 (Patriotic and National Observances and Ceremonies) of the United States Code. On November 29, Clinton issued a proclamation declaring December 7, 1994, the first National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
On Pearl Harbor Day, the American flag should be flown at half-staff until sunset to honor those who died as a result of the attack on U.S. military forces in Hawaii. Pearl Harbor Day is not a federal holiday – government offices, schools, and businesses do not close. Some organizations may hold special events in memory of those killed or injured at Pearl Harbor.
Attack on Pearl Harbor
On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked the neutral United States at Naval Station Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii, killing 2,403 Americans and injuring 1,178 others. The attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships and damaged four others. It also damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer. Aircraft losses were 188 destroyed and 159 damaged.
Canada declared war on Japan within hours of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the first Western nation to do so. On December 8, the United States declared war on Japan and entered World War II on the side of the Allies. In a speech to Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the bombing of Pearl Harbor “a date which will live in infamy.”