Bay Area events mark 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack

Fireworks from Nagaoka City, Japan, explode over Ford Island to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Hawaii, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

The "date which will live in infamy," when the Imperial Japanese Navy struck the American fleet at Pearl Harbor and prompted U.S. involvement in World War II, was 75 years ago today and several Bay Area events are commemorating the attack's anniversary.

In Alameda at 11 a.m., several WWII-era veterans will meet for a panel discussion aboard the USS Hornet, an aircraft carrier that served in the Pacific and is now a museum.

They will reflect on their memories of Dec. 7, 1941, and discuss their wartime roles.

The panel is especially poignant this year because as the men and women who experienced WWII first-hand grow older and pass away, their memories could be lost to history, USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum spokesman Michael McCarron said.

"This is probably the last big anniversary where we'll have people around to talk about it," McCarron said. "If you were 18 on Pearl Harbor Day, you would be 93 today."

In attendance will be Lawson Sakai, a four-time Purple Heart recipient and member of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a highly decorated unit comprised of mostly second-generation Japanese-American soldiers.

Also speaking will be Tommie Simpson, a former member of the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or (WAVES), who served during the war.

The USS Hornet museum will also unveil a new exhibit: "Pearl Harbor: 75th Anniversary."

The museum is located at 707 West Hornet Ave. in Alameda on the former Naval Air Station Alameda.  

In San Francisco, stock car driver Michael Hill, grandson of Pearl Harbor survivor and Navy veteran Arthur Carl Bieske, will end a cross-country drive at Land's End.

Bieske served aboard the USS San Francisco when it was in Pearl Harbor at the time of the Japanese attack.

Hill drove his custom racecar across the country to raise awareness of veteran issues. He will participate in a special wreath-laying and bell-ringing ceremony.

Today there will be a Pearl Harbor Day ceremony prior to the annual lighting of the beacon atop Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County.

At 3:45 p.m., people can gather at the Oak Room at the California State University East Bay campus at 4700 Ygnacio Valley Road in Concord to help mark the anniversary.

At 5 p.m. in Redwood City, the San Mateo County History Museum at 2200 Broadway will open a new exhibition called "Peninsula at War! San Mateo County's World War II Legacy."

Earlier this morning on Coast Guard Island between Oakland and Alameda, Rear Adm. Todd Sokalzuk, commander of the Coast Guard's Eleventh District, gave a speech prior to a 21-gun salute and a wreath-hanging ceremony.