From the Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

Starting with the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 2016, through the anniversary of the Japanese surrender onboard USS Missouri on September 2, 2020, the Navy will commemorate the pivotal role Sailors played in America’s World War II victory. For the U.S. Navy, it will begin four years of commemorative events and close review of the history of what was a transformative event for the Navy, the nation and the world.   

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Caption: 161011-N-HI816-001 WASHINGTON (Oct. 11, 2016) The official logo for the Navy's commemoration of 75th anniversary of World War II. Starting with the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 2016, through the anniversary of the Japanese surrender aboard USS Missouri (BB 63) on September 2, 2020, the Navy will commemorate the pivotal role Sailors played in America's World War II victory. (U.S. Navy graphic by Annalisa Underwood/Released).

The use of blue and gold represents the Navy's traditional colors - blue representing the ocean and seas and gold for integrity and valor. The anchor stands as a symbol of the seagoing service’s steadfastness and toughness in times of challenge. The golden rope which encircles the 75 years since the initial attack and ensuing war represents our shared history, and that through our bonds of partnership, stability and prosperity we remain bound together. 

NHHC also launched an online collection page specifically geared towards commemorating the Navy’s involvement in World War II. Featuring photographs, art, artifacts, archival material and publications covering all aspects of the Navy’s experiences during the war, new material will be added as the commemoration continues to highlight the important events associated with operations in the Atlantic Theater, the Pacific Theater and on the home front.

“World War II history has always been of intense interest to both our service and the country at large -- and for very good reason,” said Naval History and Heritage Command Director Sam Cox.  “It was a worldwide conflict with existential consequences that continue to unfold, and it affected every American.  While the broad strokes of the war are familiar from cinema, books, video games, and popular culture, this anniversary is a unique opportunity to delve deeper into the events in real time.” 

As U.S. Navy ships and units around the globe hold commemorative World War II events, the Naval History and Heritage Command will provide historical and commemorative support enabling the fleet to remember the past and inspire the future.  This will include:

  • highlighting the toughness, initiative, accountability and integrity of American Sailors and Navy civilians throughout the war and how their actions inspire the same attributes in Navy people today,

  • showcasing the innovative spirit of World War II Sailors and the American industrial base which lives on today in the strong connection between the Navy and its partners in industry.

  • illustrating the United States’ commitment to regional security and maintaining strong alliances, and how, since the end of WWII, regional powers including Japan and Germany, have evolved and are major contributors to peace and prosperity worldwide.

  • emphasizing that with partnerships spanning the vast Pacific and Atlantic oceans, America is a maritime nation whose security is tied to the sea and depends on a capable and credible U.S. Navy. 

Cox believes studying the events in the order and pace at which they actually happened will allow Americans to get away from a rote "date and event" view of history.  He says the intent is to dig deeper, re-discovering past lessons and shaping new ones. Equally important are the amazing stories of dedication and sacrifice during the war that will inspire Sailors and the rest of America today. 

“Events like the Battle of the Atlantic and the defense of Wake Island provide us hard-won lessons on intelligence, command and control, strategy, decision making, operations security, logistics, and more.  Every day that the Navy gets underway on the same seas and straits where these battles unfolded, we must ‘use history to understand not only what we did right, but what we did wrong, to not forget the hard lessons we learned in the past and to think more critically, with fresh insights, about the future .’” 

NHHC has also made available a number of high-definition video clips featuring one of their historians answering questions about the raid on Pearl Harbor.  Find out more here

NHHC is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy's unique and enduring contributions through our nation's history, and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.