First Lady Melania Trump is honoring the service members who died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 79 years ago.
Trump Commemorates Pearl Harbor
“On National #PearlHarborRemembranceDay, we honor & remember the brave service members who gave their lives 79 years ago today,” Trump posted to Instagram. “Our Nation will never forget your bravery, sacrifice & service.”
The service members died in a surprise attack on the Pearl Harbor naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii. More than 2,400 Americans perished in the attack, including civilians, according to History.com. An additional 1,000 people suffered injuries.
The attack by hundreds of Japanese fighter planes demolished or damaged 20 American ships and over 300 airplanes. Eight of those ships were battleships.
The next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt turned to Congress and asked it to declare war on Japan.
America and Japan had been inching towards war for decades, but U.S. military brass never anticipated the attack on Pearl Harbor. The facilities at Pearl Harbor were mostly undefended.
Japan’s goal was to destroy the Pacific Fleet. But they failed in that sense, as the truly key ships by then were not battleships but aircraft carriers. And on that day, all of the Pacific Fleet’s aircraft carriers were either heading back to the mainland or carting planes to troops on nearby islands.
In an address to Congress, then-President Roosevelt called December 7, 1941 “a date which will live in infamy.”
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
Also on Monday, the first lady rolled out a refurbished White House tennis pavilion.
“History continues to unfold at the @WhiteHouse & I am pleased to announce the completion of the tennis pavilion,” Trump tweeted Monday. “Preserving this historic landmark is vital & I want to thank all who helped complete this project.” She included before and after pictures in the tweet.
Trump drew some backlash on Twitter for that announcement, given the pandemic and the somber anniversary. But she commemorated Pearl Harbor Day on Twitter, too, tweeting her own message and also retweeting a proclamation from the White House.
The proclamation designates December 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.