Embassy marks Pearl Harbor anniversary

Last updated 10:37 07/12/2011
marines
HALF-MAST: U.S. Marines lower a flag to half way to mark the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor battle.

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The United States Embassy in Wellington is today commemorating the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941.

At a flag lowering ceremony conducted by US Marines today, Ambassador David Huebner said residents of Honolulu awoke on a quiet Sunday to a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces.

"As we lower the flag today we remember the more than 3,500 Americans that were killed or wounded that day.

"As President Obama has said, the images of burning battleships and the grief for lives lost were forever  seared into our national memory," Mr  Huebner said.

He said Americans responded to the tragedy referred to by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as 'a date which will live in infamy' with unity and courage.

"Sixteen million of America's sons and daughters served during World War II and more than 400,000 paid the ultimate sacrifice in defence of life and liberty."

Six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. forces travelled to New Zealand to prepare for the defence of the Pacific.

Most of New Zealand's fighting men were overseas in North Africa and Europe at the time.

"We travelled to help a friend in need," Mr Huebner said.

While in the United States to see President Obama earlier this year, Prime Minister Key extended an invitation for the Marine Corps to participate in marking the 70th Anniversary of the arrival of US Forces to New Zealand during WWII.

Last month Major General Talleri formally accepted that invitation on behalf of the US Marine Corps.

"A contingent of U.S. Marines will travel to New Zealand next June. The Embassy and the US Marine Corps has already started coordination with New Zealand counterparts on how best to commemorate the occasion," Mr Huebner said.

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- The Dominion Post

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