On this date 75 years ago, U.S. naval forces at Pearl Harbor came under surprise
attack on a peaceful Sunday morning. Thousands of soldiers, sailors and Marines
were lost, and our nation’s Pacific fleet was severely damaged. It was, as
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, a day that would «live in infamy.»
The treachery and brutality of the attack on Pearl Harbor galvanized millions of
Americans to join the war effort to defeat tyranny and secure freedom. When these
brave men and women came home after the war, they built a country that would lead
On the 75th anniversary of this attack, it is paramount to remember those who did
not make it home. Approximately 16 million men and women served in World War II.
Almost half a million died during the war, and another 670,000 were wounded. At
Pearl Harbor alone, we lost 2,403 U.S. military personnel.
Rhode Islanders across our state salute the valor of those who defended our nation
during the war, saved the lives of fellow Americans, and defined the fighting spirit
that would eventually win back the Pacific and contribute to the defeat of the Axis
powers. We will always remember those who paid the ultimate price and honor their
courage and sacrifice.
For those men and women who survived the war, we have a sacred obligation to honor
them, in gratitude for their service. There are approximately 600,000 World War
II veterans still alive today, including about 4,000 here in Rhode Island. We can
honor each and every one of them by offering the highest quality services, like
medical care and counseling, as well as comfortable, safe housing at places like
the Rhode Island Veterans Home in Bristol.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the world learned that no challenge is too
great when we stand as one people committed to the ideals upon which our nation
was founded. I’ve proclaimed today as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day,
in honor of those we’ve lost and the nation we became.
I encourage all Rhode Islanders to recommit to the ideals of valor and service,
be a good neighbor, and join me in recognizing the importance of this day.