This Friday marks the 77th anniversary of the "date which will live in infamy," as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously described December 7, 1941.

A total of 2,403 service members and civilians were killed during the Japanese military's surprise aerial attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. An additional 1,178 Americans were injured in the tragedy, which also destroyed 188 aircraft and two U.S. Navy battleships, the USS. Arizona and USS. Utah.

For six decades, the incident stood as the deadliest attack on U.S. soil, until being eclipsed by the events of September 11, 2001. And each year since 1994, Americans have solemnly observed its anniversary with National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.""The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

The history of the Pearl Harbor attack

Just before 8 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, a surprise attack consisting of 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft descended upon the Pearl Harbor Naval Base, located near Honolulu, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

The unprovoked act of war killed 2,335 members of the U.S. military, according to the Pearl Harbor Visitors Bureau, including 2,008 Navy personnel, 109 Marines and 218 Army service members. An additional 68 civilians also lost their lives as a result.

Nearly half of those casualties were from the USS Arizona. The remains of the battleship have since become a memorial to the incident, and are also the final resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and Marines killed on the ship that day.

The day after the attack, Roosevelt delivered his iconic "Infamy Speech" to Congress and requested a formal declaration of war on the Empire of Japan, which the legislature granted in less than an hour. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.

"No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory," Roosevelt promised during his speech to Congress. 

It ended up taking over three years and eight months for America and its Allies to claim victory over the Axis powers. Though his words proved true, Roosevelt himself died in office five months before they fully came to fruition on September 2, 1945, when General Douglas MacArthur accepted Japan's surrender. 

There were also 407,316 United States military members who never lived to see peace, having made the ultimate sacrifice for their country during the deadliest conflict in world history. 

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

December 7th was designated National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day by the United States Congress on August 23, 1994. The following November, 29, President Bill Clinton issued a proclamation declaring December 7, 1994 the first National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

This year will be the 25th observance of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance. As is customary, events will be held at World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, culminating with a commemoration ceremony on Friday morning.

According to the National Parks Service, the 2018 National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration will take place from 7:50 a.m. until 9:15 a.m., and include a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., when the original attack occurred. The event will be open to the public, with the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center opening at 6:00 a.m. and closing at 5:00 p.m. that day.

USS Arizona Memorial programs will run from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., with tickets distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning at 6:00 a.m. the morning of Dec. 7. Tickets cannot be reserved.

Those interested can go to the official Pearl Harbor Events website to find more information about other commemorative events happening that day in Hawaii, or to watch live streams of the ceremonies.