The island of Attu, although often considered the westernmost territory of the United States, due to its location west of the 180th meridian (and therefore in the eastern hemisphere) is actually one of the easternmost places in the United States.
Attu is an island in the United States of America, the westernmost and largest of the Near islands, belonging to the Aleutian archipelago. However, because it is located in the Eastern Hemisphere, being on the opposite side of the 180 ° longitude line of the 48 contiguous states, it can also be considered one of the easternmost points in the country. For calendar date purposes, the international date line, however, passes west of the island of Attu, making it the westernmost place in the United States with the same date.
Although Attu Island is the westernmost island to the east of the international date line, its time zone is the same as the other western Aleutian Islands, UTC -10, and other locations further east with UTC -12 and UTC -11 have earlier time zones.
In the chain of the Aleuts, the next island to the west of Attu are the Russian Commander Islands, 335 km away (and on the other side of the International Date Line). Attu is nearly 1,800 km from the Alaskan mainland and 2,400 km from Anchorage.
Attu Station was a former Coast Guard Loran station, in the 2010 the population census was 20 people, all at the Attu Station, though all inhabitants left the island later in the year when the station closed. It then became the largest uninhabited island in the United States.
It was the only part of American territory that was occupied by Japan during World War II, from October 1942 to May 1943. It is also one of the only three sites on American soil (the others being the Hawaiian Islands for the Attu of Pearl Harbor and the Isle of Unalaska for the Battle of Dutch Harbor) in which one battle of this war was fought, the Battle of Attu.
When the Japanese occupation ended in 1943, American soldiers built a chapel after the battle, and planted trees there, the only trees currently on the island.
This Japanese war memorial commemorates the over 2000 Japanese soldiers and officers who fell in the North Pacific during the Second World War. The inscription on the memorial reads:
“In memory of all those who sacrificed their lives in the islands and seas of the North Pacific during World War II and in dedication to world peace.”