National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

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A logo saying "National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day" with an American flag to the right

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day takes place on December 7 of each year, on the anniversary of the horrific attack that sent the United States into World War II. Over 2,400 military personnel and civilians lost their lives that day. Many more Pearl Harbor veterans died from service-related injuries or illnesses, like a cancer called mesothelioma. Learn how you can honor those who served this year.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

December 7, 2023, marks the 82nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which claimed the lives of 2,335 military service members and 68 civilians. National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day — which was first established in 1994 — keeps the memory of those who passed away alive for generations to come.

Each year, a wide variety of celebrations are held to commemorate the attack and honor those who served. This includes an annual ceremony at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial that surviving World War II veterans and their families attend.

Whether you are a veteran or a civilian, it’s important to remember Pearl Harbor, and there are plenty of ways to honor the memory of those who served this year.

Pearl Harbor & Veterans With Mesothelioma

While thousands were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, many more died in the line of duty or from long-term injuries and illnesses stemming from military service. Notably, veterans who served during World War II may have been exposed to asbestos — a material that causes a cancer called mesothelioma.

Did you know?

The military heavily relied on asbestos to build planes, vehicles, bases, and ships throughout World War II and into the early 1980s. The U.S. Navy used some of the highest amounts of asbestos, meaning veterans who served on naval bases like Pearl Harbor were at high risk of asbestos exposure.

If damaged or disturbed, asbestos-containing products could release fibers into the air. Anyone who breathes in or swallows asbestos fibers is at risk of developing mesothelioma 10-50 years later.

One service member, Frank Curre, was just 18 years old when Pearl Harbor changed his life forever. Serving aboard the USS Tennessee, he witnessed the horror and destruction firsthand.

On Dec. 7, 2011 — the 70th anniversary of the attack — Frank died of mesothelioma. Thankfully, Frank was able to help his family by filing a mesothelioma lawsuit before he passed, allowing them to receive financial compensation for medical bills and other expenses.

How to Observe National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Visit Pearl Harbor

If you are able, you might consider attending commemorations in person at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

The National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony will be held at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial at 7:30 a.m. HST. The ceremony’s theme this year is “Legacy of Hope.”

Dozens of World War II veterans are expected to attend the events, including several who were at Pearl Harbor during the attack. All members of the public are welcome to attend.

Other ceremonies for the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, and USS Utah — all of which were attacked — will take place throughout the week.

Visit the Pearl Harbor Events website to learn how you can join the events on this day.

Study the History

As time marches on, surviving veterans and historians fear that the attack on Pearl Harbor is being forgotten. We must always remember the bravery and acts of heroism that were on display that fateful day.

Do your part to remember Pearl Harbor by:

  • Encouraging others to brush up on the events
  • Reading a book or watching a documentary on the attack
  • Talking to a veteran, their family, or others who were alive during the attack

One Pearl Harbor veteran lamented that people were forgetting about this defining moment in U.S. history, in a 2016 interview with the Orange County Register.

“So many people have never heard of Pearl Harbor. They should teach about it more in the schools. You’d be surprised how many young people don’t know about Pearl Harbor.”
— John Ballard, Pearl Harbor veteran

Donate to Veterans Groups

Making a financial donation to veterans groups is a great way to help keep the memory of those who served alive.

Of particular importance are groups that focus on World War II veterans. Of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, only roughly 119,550 are still alive today.

Notable veterans groups include:

Never Forget Pearl Harbor and Those Who Served

For over 80 years, Pearl Harbor has remained a pivotal point of a generation and the fabric of our history. The heroism shown that day by so many will never be forgotten.

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day reminds us to honor those who lost their lives in the attacks, veterans who passed from mesothelioma or other service-related illnesses, and those who are still with us.

This year, do your part and celebrate National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Whether you visit Pearl Harbor itself or simply thank a veteran, anything you do to honor the sacrifices made will be well worth your time.

The Mesothelioma Veterans Center is committed to helping veterans with mesothelioma access the help they need to fight this disease. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma after military service, call us now at (877) 450-8973.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

  1. Pearl Harbor Events. National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day 82nd Commemoration. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from
  2. National WWII Museum. WWII Veteran Statistics. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from
  3. Sharon, K. (2016, December 05). Pearl Harbor Survivors Fear we are forgetting the story of that fateful day. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from
  4. Simmons Hanly Conroy. (2011, December 13). Remembering Pearl Harbor veteran Frank Curre. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from