On the heels of the Hawaii 5-0 Sunset on the Beach premiere, which was flush with celebrities, a new wave of high-profile guests are expected to make landfall this coming November.
According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, the 75th Pearl Harbor Commemoration, an 11-day series of events to mark the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, is expected to attract a slate of celebrities, which may include President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and actor Tom Hanks.
The paper reports that organizer Tony Vericella announced that there is a “strong possibility” that the Obamas and Hanks will attend the “December 7th Remembered” gala, which will be held Dec. 6 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.
The first couple and Hanks also are expected at the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration ceremony, which will be from 7:45 to 9:15 a.m. Dec. 7 at Kilo Pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Vericella said. The ceremony will be live-streamed to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and a website, organizers told reporters.
“To have the president and first lady … and Tom Hanks here celebrating this momentous occasion certainly would add to the icing on the cake,” Jerry Gibson, Hilton Hawaii area vice president, told the Honolulu Star Advertiser. “We sure hope they come; it would be a great honor to have them here.”
Hanks, who has played soldiers and veterans in several movies, is the national honorary celebrity chairman of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fund, to which he has contributed.
“There’s a lot of celebrities that have a very deep appreciation for the sacrifices,” Vericella told the paper. “It’s still 61 days out, so we’ll be making more announcements as events get closer.”
Altogether, Hawaii will host more than 50 events commemorating the attack that launched the United States into World War II, Vericella told reporters. Many of the events will be attended by celebrities whose names have yet to be announced.
In about two weeks, Vericella told the newspaper he will announce the headliner for the signature concert, “Inspiring the Future,” which is slated for 6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 10 at Aloha Stadium.
The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports that television personality David Hartman, a former “Good Morning America” host, will take part in the “Remember Pearl Harbor” documentary film premiere, set for 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 4. The ticketed event will take place at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.
The paper also reports that Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band have agreed to perform during the Army movie night, which will be held at Waikiki Beach at the Diamond Head end of Kalakaua Avenue on Dec. 5. Live entertainment will begin at 5:30 p.m. The 1953 movie “From Here to Eternity” will be screened at 7:30 p.m. The free event is open to the public.
Sinise, who co-starred with Hanks in the movie “Forrest Gump,” is the founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation, which honors and assists defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need. Vericella said local celebrities and military entertainers are expected to headline other Waikiki movie nights, which will take place from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on Dec. 2, 4, 8 and 9.
In addition to celebrities, Vericella told the Honolulu Star Advertiser that organizers are working to assist some 278 survivors and WWII vets making the trip to Hawaii for the events. The USS Arizona has six remaining crew members, now in their 90s.
Of course, you don’t need a celebrity sighting to fully experience Pearl Harbor. Hawaii Aloha Travel’s Pearl Harbor Basic Tour takes you to the USS Arizona Memorial, Punchbowl Cemetery, and Downtown Honolulu. And, the company’s Pearl Harbor Home of the Brave Tour takes you to the same venues, plus a visit to Wheeler Army Airfield and Schofield Barracks.
In addition to the information on the Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary Commemoration website, you can also find updates on Twitter at @pearlharbor75.