NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Some of the few remaining World War II veterans who were at Pearl Harbor when Japanese planes bombed the U.S. ships there, joined more than 150 people as the National World War II museum commemorated the 70th anniversary of the day that President Franklin Roosevelt famously said “will live in infamy.”
The Japanese attack killed approximately 2,400 Americans and wounded more than 1,100 others.
More than 50 veterans, including six who witnessed the 1941 attack, were joined by Lt Col. Richard Cole, who was Gen. Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot on a U.S. bombing raid on Japan four months later.
The moment of the Pearl Harbor attack was marked by the ringing of the “Normandy Bell,” a replica of Philadelphia’s original Liberty Bell, which was presented to the museum by France.
The museum also used the day to officially open its new exhibit, “Infamy: December 1941.”
The exhibit includes a wristwatch worn by Roy “Swede” Boreen, which stopped at the moment he jumped from the deck of his burning ship, the USS Oklahoma; a flag flown on the USS St. Louis on December 7, 1941; a tool chest used by Foster Duplechain to rebuild after the attack; and a piece of the USS Arizona, the ship with losses that accounted for nearly half of all casualties at Pearl Harbor.
The exhibit also includes oral histories by veterans who were at Pearl Harbor and other sites attacked that day.
According to statistics released by the Veteran’s Administration, U.S. World War II vets are dying at a rate of 740 a day. This means there are approximately 1.7 million veterans remaining of the 16 million who served in World War II.