Press Release

Never Forget

The National World War II Museum honors the memory of Pearl Harbor’s 68th Anniversary, plans for upcoming International Conference on WWII

NEW ORLEANS (December 2, 2009) – "Never forget." Those two words serve as both a remembrance and a call to action for Americans as the nation commemorates the 68th anniversary of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor this Monday, December 7.

The surprise air and submarine attack by the naval forces of the Empire of Japan on the U.S. fleet that early Sunday morning more than six decades ago plunged America headlong into World War II. A country determined to remain neutral found itself not only under attack by Japan but shortly thereafter, Germany declared war on the United States.

"December 7, 1941 was arguably the defining event for our country of the 20th Century,” says National World War II Museum President and CEO Dr. Gordon “Nick” Mueller. “Pearl Harbor thrust the country and its fledgling Armed Forces into the war, making it a global conflict. The war transformed out nation, creating institutions, advances in human rights and technologies that continue to affect us today. The Museum is dedicated to telling and sharing this story so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn."

Though World War II was the most pivotal event of modern times, the memory of the valor and sacrifice of America’s Greatest Generation grows harder to summon as the men and women who fought its battles both around the globe and on the Home Front are passing away. Veterans are dying at the rate of 900 a day, and vanishing with them: the personal stories of epic battles and deeds of sacrifice and heroism.

As part of its commitment to preserving the personal stories of the war that changed the world, the Museum has recorded more than 2,500 personal accounts from every branch of service and theater – including more than 500 video interviews recorded in high definition. These powerful first-hand accounts include men and women of all ethnic backgrounds, even some who fought for the Axis. The Museum’s collection also includes 30 eyewitness recollections from soldiers serving in Oahu during the events of December 7, 1941.

In addition to permanent exhibits that address the “date that will live in infamy”, the Museum will show additional archival footage from Pearl Harbor as part of its commemoration on December 7. At noon, Jack Henkels, a former park ranger at the USS Arizona Memorial, will offer a free lecture. At 6:00 pm, the Museum will present best-selling author James Bradley—author of New York Times bestsellers Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys – in the General Raymond E. Mason, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series on World War II. In his newest book, The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War, Bradley recounts diplomatic events in Teddy Roosevelt’s administration which lighted the long fuse to the powder keg that was Pearl Harbor.

Conference focuses on the impact of World War II

The National World War II Museum continues its commitment to scholarship with the return of the International Conference on World War II. The conference will take place in New Orleans on March 18-20, 2010 and will feature such noted scholars and authors as Dr. Donald Miller, Rick Atkinson, Dr. Gerhard Weinberg, Alex Kershaw and Sir Max Hastings. This popular event also includes panels of World War II veterans who will share their personal experiences. A highlight for 2010 conference will be an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the HBO Miniseries, THE PACIFIC. To register for the conference or for more information, visit

The National World War II Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National World War II Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit