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The 75th Anniversary of the Bombing of Pearl Harbor Will Be Monumental

This year’s event is expected to draw some survivors for the last time, as well as the president, all branches of the military and even a world-class concert.


This year’s event is expected to draw some survivors for the last time, as well as the president, all branches of the military and even a world-class concert.

Photo: Courtesy of the 75th Commemoration Committee


Wreckage at Pearl Harbor.

People of a certain age in Hawai‘i will never forget Dec. 7, 1941 as a day that changed everything, thrusting the United States into World War II, and rewriting their own family history.


As the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor approaches, a committee including members of the military, Hawai‘i government and private companies is planning an unprecedented observance of the historic event, with multiple high-profile events scheduled in early December.


“The theme is honoring the past and inspiring the future—so the whole intent behind all of the events is to try to find a way to actually do that, to bridge generations and to set the groundwork for what is ahead, beyond Dec. 7, 2016,” explained organizer Tony Vericella at a recent media briefing.


Organizers see this as a chance to focus on American resilience and teach future generations that understanding history helps find peaceful solutions to conflict, Vericella said.


This year is a momentous one, likely the last time many of the survivors will gather—Vericella said the committee is planning a last hurrah worthy of the occasion.


Among the expected highlights:

  • Sunday, Dec. 4, the premiere of Remember Pearl Harbor, a new documentary, potentially on PBS, NPR, local military bases and Waikīkī Beach.

  • Five nights of Movies on the Beach in Waikīkī with one movie for each branch of the military selected. (Hint: None will be the movie Pearl Harbor.)

  • Monday, Dec. 5, Americans of Japanese Ancestry Veterans luncheon, to honor some of the bravest and most-decorated war heroes.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 6, Pearl Harbor Survivors Gala Tribute, with 1,700 expected guests, many of them community and government dignitaries.

  • Wednesday, Dec. 7, the official National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration. To be televised nationally, possibly to New York City’s Times Square, Waikīkī Beach, Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and other military bases. 

  • Saturday, Dec. 10, organizers are striving to book “top-tier entertainment” for a concert at Aloha Stadium but hadn’t revealed who has booked at press time.

Find a full schedule of events, and the latest news, at pearlharbor75thanniversary.com.


Were you in Hawai‘i in 1941, or related to someone who was, with a story to tell about what it was like in Honolulu after that day? Did you lose someone in the war, find a scrapbook of photos or hear tales of life under martial law? Please reach out: robbied@honolulumagazine.com, PacificBasin Communications,1000 Bishop St., LL2, Honolulu, HI 96813, or 534-7546.


Organizers hope the military will send an aircraft carrier to the commemoration. 


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