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Attack on Pearl Harbor observed 75 years later

U.S. Navy / Reuters

December 7, 1941 is known as the day that will live in infamy, marking the US’ official entrance into World War II, which helped shape the role the US plays in the world today. Many are gathering to honor the 2,403 American lives lost at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago.

The 75th anniversary of the attack by Japan on the US naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii will be remembered on Wednesday. The remaining survivors, such as 104-year-old Ray Chavez, will go to Hawaii to honor those who lost their lives.

I can’t forget it. I never will,” Chavez told NBC News. “I got very emotional that day. There were so many, many innocent people that were lost.”

For those who lived during the attack, the day is full of painful memories. Edward Waszkiewicz, 95, was a 20-year-old when he heard what sounded like the “end of the world coming,” he told USA Today. He looked up and watched three planes fly to “Battleship Row,” a group of eight US battleships, and watched as “all hell broke loose.

As history is remembered and memorialized, it will also be made Wednesday, when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe visits Pearl Harbor, the first time a Japanese prime minister has ever done so.

In total, 18 ships were sunk by the Japanese, including the USS Arizona, which lost 80 percent of its crew, who were trapped inside. In addition to the over 2,000 Americans who were killed, 1,000 were injured and over 300 airplanes were destroyed.

The USS Arizona wreckage is part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument that can be visited by boat. Over 1.6 million people make the voyage annually, USA Today reported. The oil that poured out of the USS Arizona continues to float up three-quarters of a century later and can be seen by visitors as it bubbles to the surface.

While many observances will be held December 7, there are events happening throughout the week in Hawaii. The list below comes from the 75th Anniversary Commemoration Fund website, set up by Hawaii Governor David Ige (D) and a partnership of Pearl Harbor Historic Sites.

Wednesday, December 7

The National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration begins at 7:45am at Kilo Pier, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. A live stream is said to be available on the website.

The Annual Wreath Presentation begins at 8:00am at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

The USS Oklahoma Memorial Ceremony begins at 1:00pm at the USS Oklahoma Memorial.

The 25th Infantry Division Commemoration Ceremony begins at 3:00pm at Fort DeRussy.

The Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade and Public Ceremony begins at 4:30pm at Fort DeRussy in Waikiki then ends at Kapiolani Park.

Thursday, December 8

The 108th Army Band Performance begins at 2:00pm at the Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor.

Friday, December 11

The Honolulu Marathon begins at 5:00am in Honolulu.

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