The US honors the 75th anniversary of Japan’s surprise attack on the naval base, Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, which had killed over 2,000 people. This was the attack that had prompted Americans into World War II.

In a memorial on Wednesday, thousands stood on a pier overlooking Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in honor of the 75th year since the attack. At 7:55am local time, USS Halsey blew a whistle to begin a moment of silence for those who gave their lives that day.

History Made

President Obama said, in a statement: “Over 2,400 American patriots lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor – military and civilian, men, women and children.”

“Their sacrifice galvanized millions of GIs and Rosie the Riveters who answered the call to defend liberty at its moment of maximum peril. In the hours after the attack, President Roosevelt promised that ‘the American people in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.’ Thanks to the heroism of a generation, we did.”

Obama also mentioned he along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be at the USS Arizona Memorial later in the month. Abe would be the first Japanese leader to visit the memorial since the end of World War II, marking a historic moment for the US and Japan as allies.

President Obama Commemorates WWII’s Victims

Similarly, in May, Obama was also the first US President to visit Hiroshima, where the US had dropped a nuclear bomb that killed more than 100,000 Japanese people. “President Obama’s message for the world without nuclear upon his visit to Hiroshima was engraved in the heart of the Japanese people,” Abe had said. “I will visit Pearl Harbor with President Obama. This will be a visit to soothe the souls of the victims. We should never repeat the ravages of the war.”

President-elect Donald Trump also commemorated those who had fallen victim to the attack as “brave Americans.” “America’s enemies have changed over the past 75 years. But the fact remains, as President Reagan said when first proclaiming National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, ‘there can be no substitute for victory’ in the pursuit of peace.”