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Dutch Harbor Remembrance Day

Jun 3, 2020

WHEREAS, on June 2, 1942, World War II arrived in Alaska. On this fateful day, six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dutch Harbor on Amaknak Island was bombed by Japanese “Kate” bombers from two of their aircraft carriers; and

WHEREAS, the pilots expected little resistance, but a secret message warning of the attack had been intercepted three weeks before, and since late May the installation had been on high alert. Navy and Marine personnel were ready and filled the air with anti-aircraft fire; and

WHEREAS, due to the counter attack from the Dutch Harbor installation, the Japanese instead focused their attack on the Margaret Bay Naval barracks, killing 25 servicemen; and

WHEREAS, this attack on Dutch Harbor was the first hostile action on Alaskan soil, but not the last. In the days and weeks that followed, Dutch Harbor was again attacked, as was Adak, Kiska, and Attu. The Unangan (Aleut) people were uprooted from their homes and evacuated with few personal belongings. For three long years they were held in internment camps in Southeast Alaska, and as a result of the horrific conditions of the camps, many perished. Kiska and Attu were invaded and held by the Japanese, with prisoners taken and lives lost; and

WHEREAS, the brave men of the United States Armed Forces and allied Canadian Forces fought the enemy in severe weather conditions for over a year in order to retake the remaining Aleutian Islands. The battle for Attu ranks as one of the United States’ most costly assaults in the Pacific during the war, as hundreds of American servicemen made the ultimate sacrifice to liberate Alaska; and

WHEREAS, this year marks the 78th Anniversary of the bombing of Dutch Harbor. We remember and honor all those who were affected by the attack, remembering both the military personnel who served and died to defend our nation, and the Aleuts who died while imprisoned.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim June 3, 2020 as:

Dutch Harbor Remembrance Day

in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to join with the people of Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, and the Aleutian Islands to honor all who were lost in Alaska during World War II, and order the Alaska State Flag to be flown at half-staff in remembrance of those who perished.