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US marks 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor

The US has commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. Imperial Japan's surprise attack on the naval base in 1941 brought the Americans into World War II.

Thousands stood on a pier overlooking Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Wednesday to mark the anniversary, before the USS Halsey sounded its whistle to start a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m. local time (1755 UTC). The ceremony ended with F-22 fighter jets flying in formation overhead.

"America went abroad to gain freedom for millions of other people," said Hilliard, a Marine veteran and one of several dignitaries and officials who presented wreaths for the fallen at a memorial over the sunken hull of USS Arizona.

"We are kind of unique. We are an exceptional nation."

Nationwide events

Pearl Harbor events also took place across the country.

In Texas, hundreds of well-wishers applauded World War II veterans George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole during a ceremony. A tattered US flag that flew at Pearl Harbor was on display at an Ohio museum.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday praised the alliance between Japan and the United States exactly 75 years after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that led to America's entrance into World War II.

7th December 1941: The USS Shaw exploding during the Japanese attack on the US Pacific fleet at their base in Pearl Harbour (Pearl Harbor) on the island of Oahu, Hawaii

December 7, 1941: The USS Shaw exploding during the Japanese attack on the US Pacific fleet at their base in Pearl Harbour (Pearl Harbor) on the island of Oahu, Hawaii

President-elect Donald Trump also marked the anniversary with a message praising the "American heroes" who died in the raid.

Abe to visit

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to make a historic visit to a memorial in Pearl Harbor later this month - the first such visit by a Japanese leader - when Obama is scheduled to join him.

US and Japanese representatives on Tuesday visited the wreck of the USS Arizona, where 1,177 sailors and Marines died.

Standing for the national anthem

Attendees gave a long ovation to Adm. Harry Harris of the US Pacific Command when he spoke in favor of standing for the national anthem.

Harris also said: "You can bet that the men and women we honor today" never failed to stand for the national anthem. The crowd applauded for nearly a minute.

In recent months, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others have knelt through the anthem to protest police brutality and the treatment of minorities.

jbh/bw (AP, AFP)

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