OAKLAND, Calif. - As President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Tuesday marked the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor with a somber visit to the World War II Memorial, the Bay Area also remembered their role and where they were at the time.
The Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor and other locations in Hawaii killed 2,403 service members and civilians and was a defining moment that led to U.S. entry into World War II.
According to briefs written at the San Francisco Museum, once word of the Japanese attacks began to spread, schools in Oakland and San Francisco shut down as fears began to loom. Later on Tuesday afternoon, California State University will hold an outdoor remembrance ceremony at its campus in Concord.
In Washington, D.C., Joe Biden touched a wreath and saluted. The wreath contained a wild sunflower, the state flower of Kansas, in honor of former Sen. Bob Dole, a war veteran who was a driving force in getting the memorial built on the National Mall and who died Sunday at age 98.
The first lady laid a bouquet of flowers at the base of the memorial below the New Jersey pillar and softly touched a wall, where she and the president spent a moment. The bouquet was in honor of her father, Donald Jacobs, who served as a U.S. Navy signalman in the war, the White House said.
The Bidens then paused at the Pacific arch on the southern side of the memorial plaza for one last moment of reflection before departing.
Joe Biden, in a White House proclamation issued last week to recognize National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, gave "thanks to the Greatest Generation, who guided our Nation through some of our darkest moments and laid the foundations of an international system that has transformed former adversaries into allies."
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco also issued a statement: "Millions of young Americans answered their nation’s call to serve, bravely setting sail across the seas to defend freedom and defeat fascism. Indeed, in one of our darkest chapters, the greatest generation showed the world our nation’s true greatness: the strength, unity and tenacity of the American spirit."
KTVU's James Torrez contributed to this report.