Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is observed on December 7 to commemorate the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and remember those who were injured or lost their lives as a result. To honor those who died, the American flag is flown at half-mast. Other activities performed to honor the victims of the attack include memorial services, wreath-laying ceremonies, media stories and specials on the attack, and school activities that educate students about the Pearl Harbor attack and its relation to World War II.
The attack on Pearl Harbor, located in Hawaii, was made by the Japanese Imperial Navy during World War II. It came as a complete surprise to Americans, who had yet to enter into the war. Though the Japanese Imperial Navy bombed all eight of the U.S. Navy battleships and some of the other vehicles and aircraft at the Pearl Harbor naval base in order to prevent the U.S. from interfering with Japan’s military actions in Southeast Asia, the attack actually escalated the war.
On December 8, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt declared December 7 “a date which will live in infamy” and called for a declaration of war on Japan. Within an hour after President Roosevelt’s speech, Congress had formally declared war on Japan and the U.S. entered World War II.
Learn more about the attack on Pearl Harbor at history.com.