Minnesotans remember attack on Pearl Harbor 73 years later


Sunday is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, marking the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that killed 2,400 Americans.

Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed Sunday, Dec. 7 as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and ordered all U.S. and Minnesota flags to be flown at half-staff to remember the lives lost during the surprise attack and those who sacrificed their lives during World War II.

There are a few events planned in Minnesota to mark the somber anniversary.

The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and Fort Snelling National Cemetery Memorial Rifle Squad are hosting a remembrance ceremony and continental breakfast at the Veterans Service Building at 9 a.m. Sunday to honor those who served and remember those who gave their lives.

Twin Cities storyteller and veteran Larry Johnson, along with members of Veterans for Peace, will host a "From Pearl Harbor to Peace" discussion and children's activities at the Landmark Center in St. Paul, Twin Cities Daily Planet reports. The event is free.

The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel, located on the grounds of Fort Snelling, will have a service at 11 a.m. to remember the attacks.

Edwin Nakasone, a retired Century College professor who grew up in Hawaii and witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor, will speak as part of his "Pearl Harbor Remembered" dramatization at an observance in Owatonna on Tuesday, the Owatonna People's Press says.

Roughly 326,000 Minnesotans fought in World War II.

Vikings to honor World War II veteran

The Minnesota Vikings will honor SC1 Richard Thrill, of St. Paul, who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, with their Soldier Salute during Sunday's game against the New York Jets at TCF Bank Stadium.

Thrill was assigned to USS Ward, which fired the first American shots of World War II that sunk a Japanese submarine that was trying to enter the harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. A gun from the ship is on the Capitol grounds in St. Paul, according to the Vikings news release.

Thrill served over five years, earning eight battle stars, before returning to Minnesota, where he lives with his wife Gloria.

National events

President Barack Obama has also declared Sunday National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

But as years pass, events to mark the anniversary of the attacks are getting smaller, the New York Post notes. Only 1 million of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are still alive.

Last week, more than a dozen Pearl Harbor survivors gathered in Hawaii to mark the 73rd anniversary of the attacks. It's been called the last meeting for the USS Arizona Reunion Association, which is comprised of the remaining nine survivors of the USS Arizona, which sank in the attack, FOX News reports.

Events in Hawaii have been going on all weekend – more than 2,000 people are expected to attend the Pearl Harbor commemoration events, which include a Hawaii Pops concert, a sunset ceremony, a dinner gala, and several commemoration ceremonies.

Those who can't attend Sunday morning's ceremony can register to view it on a live webcast, the New York Times says.

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