Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Barack Obama made a historic visit to the U.S.'s Pearl Harbor memorial today — marking the first time a leader of the former enemy country has toured the USS Arizona memorial.
Now allies, the U.S. and Japan have had a complicated history — and the site of the Dec. 7, 1941 sneak attack that killed 2,403 Americans 75 years ago is a chief reminder of that.
At around 11:20 a.m. in Hawaii, Obama and Abe laid wreaths at the memorial over the sunken USS Arizona, where oil still leaks from the ship below and scores of U.S. sailors' bodies were never recovered.
The joint visit was meant to be a reminder of the two countries' choice to move past their frictious history.
"This visit, and the president's visit to Hiroshima earlier this year, would not have been possible eight years ago," Daniel Kritenbrink, Obama's top Asia adviser, told the AP. "That we are here today is the result of years of efforts at all levels of our government and societies, which has allowed us to jointly and directly deal with even the most sensitive aspects of our shared history."
According to the AP, the leaders "bowed their heads slightly but said nothing" before slowly leaving the memorial.
Afterward, the leaders spoke about the countries' history and future. Obama asked World War II veterans to stand, and attendees cheered.