President Barack Obama, a native of Hawaii, commemorated the 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor this morning with a statement of gratitude for the 2,400 Americans both military and civilian who lost their lives that Sunday morning in 1941.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families for whom this day is deeply personal—the spouses, brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters who have known seven decades without a loved one but who have kept their legacy alive for future generations," he said. [Read:Declassified Memo Hinted of 1941 Attack.]
The president called for all flags on U.S. federal buildings to be flown at half mast today.
The president's message of remembrance paralleled the speech he delivered Tuesday in Osawatomie, Kan., where he vowed to protect the middle class and urged Americans to act as one. In his declaration of remembrance, Obama suggested Americans view veterans of Pearl Harbor as a cornerstone of what makes America great. [Check out Obama's latest speech.]
"They are members of that Greatest Generation," he said. "When the guns fell silent, they came home, went to school on the G.I. Bill, and built the largest middle class in history and the strongest economy in the world. They remind us that no challenge is too great when Americans stand as one."
Obama also used the occasion to draw attention to the sacrifices troops and their families make today.
"As today's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan come to an end and we welcome home our 9/11 Generation, we resolve to always take care of our troops, veterans and military families as well as they've taken care of us," he said. [See a collection of political cartoons on the budget and deficit]
Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta laid a wreath at the Navy Memorial this morning in honor of those that died in the attack on Pearl Harbor and the official memorial ceremony will take place at the WWII Valor in the Pacific Nations Monument.