Pearl Harbor survivors remember attack
HONOLULU - American survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, many of them in their 90s, gathered Saturday near Honolulu to mark the anniversary of the attack in 1941 that took the lives of more than 2,000 of their peers and thrust the United States into World War II.
Some 50 survivors took part in the 72nd commemoration of Dec. 7, according to Eileen Martinez, chief of interpretation for the USS Arizona Memorial.
"They are in their twilight years, so now is the time to honor them and thank them for their service," she said. "This is our most important day at Pearl Harbor."
Civilian witnesses from the island of Oahu as well as World War II veterans and their families gathered at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center to remember the surprise assault by Japanese air and naval forces that claimed roughly 2,400 American lives.
Nearly half of those who perished were sailors aboard the battleship USS Arizona, which Japanese torpedo bombers sank early in the attack, sending 1,177 of its 1,400-member crew to their deaths.The USS Arizona Memorial, built over the wreckage of the ship, now forms a centerpiece of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, an historic site administered by the National Park Service. A guided missile destroyer rendered honors to the USS Arizona, and a flyover took place.