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Why flags are being lowered across the Tri-State

CINCINNATI (WXIX) – The governors of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana on Tuesday ordered flags on publicly owned buildings and grounds to be flown at half-staff.

The reason? Wednesday is Dec. 7, the 81st anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

All state and U.S. flags will fly at half-staff until midnight Wednesday.

The Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade is held every year to commemorate the anniversary of the attack and honor the dead.

It begins at 4:30 p.m. local time (9:30 p.m. ET). FOX19 will carry it live across our digital platforms.

Known as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Wednesday honors those who lost their lives during the Japanese surprise attack, later judged a war crime, on the U.S. naval base located in Hawaii.

Japanese aircraft totaling 353 fighter planes and bombers launched from six aircraft carriers began the assault just before 8 a.m. local time. It was a Sunday.

Some 2,403 Americans were killed in the attack. An additional 1,178 were wounded.

All eight of the U.S. Navy battleships were damaged. Four were sunk together with three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship and one minelayer. More than 180 U.S. aircraft were destroyed.

The Japanese lost 64 servicemembers as well as 29 aircraft and five submarines.

The attack, according to historians, was intended to prevent the U.S. from interfering in Japanese military ambitions in Southeast Asia. In the following hours, Japan also launched attacks on U.S.-held positions in the Philippines, Guam and Wake Island as well as British Empire holdings in Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Instead, Pearl Harbor, famously described by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as “a day that will live in infamy,” drew the U.S. headlong into World War II.

The U.S. officially declared war on Japan on Dec. 8. Germany, an ally of Japan, declared war on the U.S. on Dec. 11, drawing the U.S. into both Pacific and European theatres within four days of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Three of the sunk destroyers were later raised. Six of the original eight returned to service during the war that followed.

The Japanese surrender was announced by Emperor Hirohito on Aug. 15, 1945. The surrender was formally signed on Sept. 2, some 1,365 days after the first bombs were dropped in Hawaii.

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