Biden visits WWII memorial to mark Pearl Harbor anniversary

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President Biden made a somber visit to the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, on Tuesday to mark the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Biden, who was accompanied on the early morning visit by first lady Jill Biden, saluted a wreath at the center of the memorial following his arrival.

The wreath included a wild sunflower in honor of former Sen. Bob Dole, a World War II veteran who died on Sunday at the age of 98. The sunflower is the state flower of Dole’s home state of Kansas.

After observing a moment of silence, Biden and his wife laid flowers at the base of the memorial’s New Jersey pillar in honor of the first lady’s father, Donald Jacobs, who served as a US Navy signalman during the war.

After taking a last look at the memorial, the first couple departed approximately 10 minutes after they arrived.

The Japanese attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, killed 2,403 American service members and civilians on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.

US President Joe Biden (L) and First Lady Jill Biden Pearl Harbor memorial
The president and first lady Jill Biden laid flowers at the base of the memorial’s New Jersey pillar in honor of the first lady’s father, Donald Jacobs, a former Navy signalman.
EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

The United States declared war on Japan the following day, with President Franklin Roosevelt describing Dec. 7 as “a date which will live in infamy.” After Nazi Germany and fascist Italy declared war on the US on Dec. 11, the American government reciprocated on the same day — plunging the US into a two-front conflict from which America and its allies would emerge victorious in 1945.

“Our Nation remains forever indebted to all those who gave their last full measure of devotion eight decades ago,” Biden said in a proclamation marking Pearl Harbor Day that was issued last week. “We will never forget those who perished, and we will always honor our sacred obligation to care for our service members, veterans, and their families, caregivers, and survivors.”

President Joe Biden (L) and First Lady Jill Biden Pear Harbor memorial
The pair spent approximately 10 minutes at the memorial.
EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Biden visited the memorial shortly before a scheduled call with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss issues including a buildup of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine.

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