SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. sailors who were killed in a savage WWII battle aboard a cruiser were honored on the national Veterans Day Saturday, local media reports said.
More than 100 U.S. servicemen, along with their families and friends, came to the cruiser's memorial site in San Francisco, in the U.S. western state of California, to commemorate the 106 sailors aboard USS Cruiser San Francisco, named after the city of San Francisco, with a bell struck in their honor.
Vice Admiral Thomas S. Rowden, commander of the U.S. Naval Surface Forces, said the soldiers "went off to fight for the cause of freedom, winning one of the most significant battles that helped turned the tide in the Pacific theater of operations."
In 1942, the cruiser USS San Francisco attacked a vastly superior Japanese force off the coast of Guadalcanal, the most brutal close-quarters naval engagement of World War II.
The San Francisco, which sustained heavy damage after sinking a Japanese ship and seriously damaging two others, managed to make it back to port, but 106 sailors including Rear Admiral Daniel Callaghan were killed and 131 more wounded.
Saturday's event was part of the annual celebrations on Veterans Day, which falls on Nov. 11, across the United States, and schools in San Francisco were closed to give students a holiday in memory of U.S. servicemen in World War II.
Earlier in the day, U.S. President Donald Trump hailed U.S. veterans in a tweet, saying they are "this country's greatest national treasure."