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An anticipated rain on Saturday morning that didn’t come allowed for an unhampered ceremony by members of the Colusa Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2411 and the Maxwell American Legion Post 218 to honor the 2,403 Americans who died when the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force attacked the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Naval Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 78 years earlier.
The Pearl Harbor Day ceremony, which included a three-shot volley by a joint-organization firing squad, has served as an annual reminder of the Dec. 7, 1941 event that immediately catapulted the U.S. into World War II, which had begun in Europe in 1939.
“President Roosevelt declared war the next day on Dec. 8,” said VFW Commander Mike Jones.
Saturday’s ceremony in Veterans Memorial Park was held to honor those who died in the war, as well as those who served at Pearl Harbor on that fateful day.
On Aug. 23, 1994, the United States Congress designated Dec. 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
A few members of the public attended the ceremony, held in a soggy Memorial Park after Friday’s downpour. As they have done in recent years, the Colusa Fire Department sent a number of vehicles and firefighters to the event as a measure of support for the veterans and the fallen.
In addition to those killed on that day, 1,178 people were injured in the attack, which was launched from Japanese aircraft carriers.
In the attack, nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, were damaged or destroyed, as well as more than 300 U.S. aircraft.
Of the dead, 1,177 were from the USS Arizona, the wreckage of which now serves as the main memorial to the incident at Pearl Harbor. ■