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US Commemorates Pearl Harbor Anniversary

Marines Andrew Cardwell of Cincinnati, Ohio, left, and Sarah Robbins of Denver, Colo., lay a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Dec. 6, 2012.
Observances will be held across the United States on Friday to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack on the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

On December 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft attacked the base just before 8:00 a.m., Hawaii time. The attack killed more than 2,400 Americans, sank five battleships and drew the United States into WWII.

In Washington, the National Park Service is honoring the nation's veterans with a ceremony at the WWII Memorial on the National Mall. The ceremony is scheduled to be held at the exact time the attack occurred.

Crowds are also gathering at the Pearl Harbor visitor center and memorial that is built over the sunken wreckage of the battleship USS Arizona. It is a memorial to what then-president Franklin Roosevelt described as "a date which will live in infamy."

The U.S. declared war on Japan the day after the unprovoked attack. On December 11, 1941, Japan's Axis partners Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S., marking the nation's entry into the global conflict.

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