VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — "May we never forget."
So the slogan goes. On Thursday, at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, they didn't.
"Taps" was played, a 21-gun salute was fired, and a ceremonial wreath was laid on the 77th anniversary of the day President Franklin Roosevelt said, "will live in infamy."
Hampton Roads' last known Pearl Harbor survivor, 97-year-old Paul Moore, a former fire control man first class aboard the USS West Virginia, watched it all.
"I can't forget it," he said. "I'm telling you, I miss a many a buddy."
It was a Sunday morning, the Imperial Japanese Navy struck quickly and without warning. Before it was all over, more than 2,400 Americans had died.
The Japanese sent in 353 planes in the first wave alone. They hit Hickam Field and Wheeler Field, and they came into Pearl Harbor, taking out the American Navy fleet.
The second wave of 171 Japanese planes came in from the East.
It lasted 90 minutes.
Expeditionary Strike Group 2 commander, Rear Admiral Brad Skillman, said the hard lessons learned that day still apply now.
"As we again displayed after the 9-11 attacks, this country unites with an iron will and meets any challenge," h said. "The greatest generation's example of what it means to be an American is still at our core today.
President Franklin Roosevelt made a formal declaration of war against the Empire of Japan the next day, saying: "With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us, God."
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