Pearl Harbor marks 71 years since attack
30 survivors, 2,000 people attend commemoration of U.S. entry into war.
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII — More than 2,000 people at Pearl Harbor and many more around the country marked the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack that killed thousands of people and launched the United States into World War II.
The USS Michael Murphy, a recently christened ship named after a Pearl Harbor-based Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan, 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 in the harbor where the USS Arizona and USS Utah, battleships that sank in the attack, still lie. Hawaii Air National Guard F-22 jets flew overhead in a special “missing man” formation to break the silence.
“Let us remember that this is where it all began. Let us remember that the arc of history was bent at this place 71 years ago today and a generation of young men and women reached deep and rose up to lead our nation to victory,” Rhea Suh, Interior Department assistant secretary, told the crowd. “Let us remember and be forever grateful for all of their sacrifices.”
About 30 survivors, many using walkers and canes, attended the commemoration.
Edwin Schuler, of San Jose, Calif., said he remembered going up to the bridge of his ship, the USS Phoenix, to read a book on a bright, sunny Sunday morning in 1941 when he saw planes dropping bombs.
“I thought: ‘Whoa, they’re using big practice bombs.’ I didn’t know,” said Schuler, 91.
Ewalt Shatz, 89, said returning to Pearl Harbor “keeps the spirit going, the remembering of what can happen.”
Shatz, who now lives in Riverside, Calif., was on board the USS Patterson that morning when the alarm sounded. His more experienced shipmates were below putting a boiler back together, so Shatz found himself manning a .50-caliber machine gun for the first time. The Navy credited him with shooting a Japanese plane.
“That was some good shooting,” said U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Cecil Haney, who recounted Shatz’s experience in the keynote address. “Thank you for your courage and tenacity — our nation is truly grateful.”
The Navy and National Park Service hosted the ceremonies held in remembrance of the 2,390 service members and 49 civilians killed in the attack.
Friday’s event gave special recognition to members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, who flew noncombat missions during World War II, and to Ray Emory, a 91-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor who has pushed to identify the remains of unknown servicemen.
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.
— A nurse who fell victim to a prank call seeking information about the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy has died, a hospital said Friday.
Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was found dead early Friday at apartments affiliated with King Edward VII hospital in central London, where she worked for four years.
British media outlets, citing unnamed sources, reported that Saldanha’s death was a suspected suicide. Scotland Yard said the death was being treated “as unexplained.”
2DayFM, the Australian station that performed the prank Tuesday, said in a statement on Facebook and Twitter that two disc jockeys, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, would not return to the station until further notice. They had apologized for the hoax Wednesday.
Saldanha took the call by the pair, who impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles to elicit information on the duchess, the hospital said. Saldanha later transferred the call to the nurse caring for the duchess, who was admitted to the hospital Monday with acute morning sickness.
“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time are with her family and friends,” hospital chief executive John Lofthouse said in a statement. “Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much loved and valued colleague.”
St. James’s Palace, the office of the duchess and her husband, Prince William, expressed sadness at the death, insisting it had not complained about the hoax. “On the contrary, we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times,” the palace said.
During the hoax call, a woman using the oftenmimicked voice of Britain’s monarch asked about the duchess’ health. She was told by the second nurse who took the call from Saldanha that the duchess, the former Kate Middleton, “hasn’t had any retching with me and she’s been sleeping on and off.”