NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – It was 70 years today that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, killing thousands of Americans and plunging the United States into World War II.
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Today, Pearl Harbor survivors throughout the Tri-State area are among those around the country commemorating the anniversary.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt called Dec. 7, 1941 “a date that will live in infamy.”
Nearly 2,400 Americans lost their lives in the attack. Twelve ships were sunk or beached; nine others were damaged. The U.S. lost 164 aircraft. On the Japanese side, 64 died and 29 planes were destroyed.
A day later, President Roosevelt went before Congress to ask for a declaration of war and it approved it within hours.
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The 70th anniversary of the attack was marked in New York City on the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum with a wreath-laying ceremony. Former USS Intrepid crew members and Pearl Harbor survivors from the New York City area participated.
In New Jersey, a survivor of Pearl Harbor was honored Tuesday with the Bergen County Military Service Medal.
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Tom Mahoney 19 at the time of the attack and was serving on the USS Curtis.
When the fighting finally ended on Dec. 7, Mahoney found himself gazing across Pearl Harbor at a fiery red sunset. He turned to the sailor next to him to ask if he had heard if Mahoney’s brother, who was aslo serving as a shipmate, had made it out alive.
As it turned out, the soot-covered sailor sitting next to him was in fact, his brother.
“You can’t believe how we cried,” he said. “It was just like discovering someone who was missing for a thousand years.”
The images of that day remain vivid.
“Never forget it. It’s embedded in my brain, two hours of rotten hell,” he said.
Mahoney will be 90-years-old next week.
In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy has ordered all flags to half-staff in tribute to the 2,390 Americans killed in the attack. The governor says flags should be lowered from sunrise to sunset.
Malloy says it’s a time to reflect on one of darkest moments in America’s history and to honor the courage shown by the armed forces at Pearl Harbor and during World War II.
Many ceremonies are planned across the state to honor those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor, including one at noon at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton.
To mark the 70th anniversary, the FDR library in Hyde Park has unveiled an online database of Roosevelt’s daily schedule.
The interactive chronology documents FDR’s day-to-day activities as president from March 1933 to April 1945, including his White House meetings held on Dec. 7, 1941.
For more information, visit www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu.
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