A ceremony commemorating one of the most-notable dates in U.S. history — Pearl Harbor Day — took place Thursday at the American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport in East Farmingdale.
During the ceremony, veterans received bouquets of roses, and afterward departed from the airport in vintage aircraft from the museum. The pilots proceeded to drop roses over the Statue of Liberty.
The surprise attack on U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, took place 76 years ago — on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941 — and left 2,335 dead and 1,143 wounded. It marked the U.S. entry into World War II.
The following day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the nation in a radio broadcast, delivering a speech that began with these immortal words: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
The American Airpower Museum is a nonprofit aviation museum dedicated to keeping historic aircraft flying.
Republic Airport was once the home of Republic Aviation, which built the legendary World War II P-47 Thunderbolt fighter, and Long Island was once home to a host of other historic aircraft manufacturers, including Grumman, Fairchild and Seversky.
The museum has an extensive collection of flying aircraft, among them a P-47 Thunderbolt, P-40 Warhawk, FG-1D Corsair, B-25 Mitchell, C-47, TBM-3 Avenger and AT-6, as well as a large number of later military aircraft on static display.