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The 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor Remembered

Wreaths Across America and the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum remember fallen Americans from the “day that will live in infamy.”

COLLEGE STATION, TX — December 7, 2021 — Wreaths Across America and the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum will mark the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and entry of the United States into World War II. We will remember fallen Americans from the “day that will live in infamy.” We will honor the service and sacrifice of all World War II veterans and Pearl Harbor Survivor, Horace B. Hamilton of Caldwell will place a ceremonial wreath on the grave of a fellow World War II Navy veteran, President George Herbert Walker Bush At the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

The wreath placement will be begin at 11:00am CDT.  Adjusted for the 4-hour time difference to Honolulu, 7:00am HST which is when the first enemy aircraft was detected on radar breaching American airspace.

In June of 1941, Mr. Hamilton joined the Navy.  He trained in San Diego and deployed to Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Phoenix, a light cruiser.  Missions included three escorts of troop ships for reinforcements to Corregidor Island in the Philippines.  The Phoenix arrived in Pearl harbor a few days before the attack.

That Sunday morning, Mr. Hamilton had just finished breakfast and was sitting on the fantail when he saw Japanese planes approaching. At first he thought they were American pilots that were using the nearby USS Utah for target practice.  When the planes began dropping torpedoes and bombs, the crew saw the “Red Sun” on the planes.

There were several near misses. The Marines on the Phoenix had to shoot the locks off the ammo lockers, before the crew could return fire.  The Phoenix and the Detroit, along with four “tin can” destroyers got underway and made it out of the harbor.  Once at sea, their orders were to search out and engage the enemy. After a three-day search, the Phoenix returned to Pearl.

The main objective of the attack was demobilizing the Pacific Fleet. Twenty-one ships of the Pacific Fleet had been sunk or damaged, and 75 percent of the planes on the airfields surrounding Pearl Harbor were damaged or destroyed.

The Phoenix had not suffered any casualties, nor incurred a direct hit earning the vessel the title of “Lucky Phoenix”.  They took 40 men, supplies and ammo off the Nevada.  Then, they took a convoy of wounded, civilians and dignitaries, back to San Francisco and made two more such trips.

One of their last duty assignments of World War II was to transport survivors of the Bataan Death March to area hospitals.  Ironically, these were the same men that they had delivered to Corregidor, just before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

About Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. The organization’s mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.

For more information or to sponsor a wreath please visit

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