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Pearl Harbor Remembered on 71st Anniversary

5:36 PM, Dec 7, 2012   |    comments
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AUDREY McAVOY
Associated Press

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) - More than 2,000 people gathered at Pearl Harbor on Friday to mark the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack that killed thousands of people and launched the United States into World War II.

The crew of a Navy guided-missile destroyer will stand on deck while the ship passes the USS Arizona, a battleship that still lies in the harbor where it sank. Hawaii Air National Guard aircraft will fly overhead.

The Navy and National Park Service are hosting the ceremonies, which are being held in remembrance of the 2,390 service members and 49 civilians killed in the attack.

The USS Michael Murphy sounded its ship's whistle Friday to start a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., marking the exact time the bombing began in 1941.

Crew members lined the edge of the Navy guided-missile destroyer as it passed the USS Arizona, a battleship that still lies in the harbor where it sank. Hawaii Air National Guard F-22 fighter jets flew overhead in a special formation to break the silence.

Online, Pearl Harbor became a popular topic on Facebook and other social networks, trending worldwide on Twitter and Google Plus.

President Barack Obama marked the day on Thursday by issuing a presidential proclamation, calling for flags to fly at half-staff on Friday and asking all Americans to observe the day of remembrance and honor military service members and veterans.

"Today, we pay solemn tribute to America's sons and daughters who made the ultimate sacrifice at Oahu," Obama said in a statement. "As we do, let us also reaffirm that their legacy will always burn bright - whether in the memory of those who knew them, the spirit of service that guides our men and women in uniform today, or the heart of the country they kept strong and free."

The Navy and park service will resume taking visitors to the USS Arizona Memorial, which sits atop the sunken battleship, after the ceremony.

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