Pearl Harbor survivors to commemorate attack that drew U.S. into World War Two

HONOLULU Sat Dec 7, 2013 8:16am EST

A U.S. Marine stands at attention at the ''Remembrance Wall'' in the Shrine Room on the USS Arizona Memorial during the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor at the WW II Valor in the Pacific National Monument in Honolulu, Hawaii December 7, 2012. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry

A U.S. Marine stands at attention at the ''Remembrance Wall'' in the Shrine Room on the USS Arizona Memorial during the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor at the WW II Valor in the Pacific National Monument in Honolulu, Hawaii December 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Hugh Gentry

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HONOLULU (Reuters) - American survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, many of them in their 90s, will gather on Saturday near Honolulu to mark the anniversary of the attack in 1941 that took the lives of more than two thousand of their peers and thrust the United States into World War Two.

Some 50 survivors will take part in the 72nd commemoration of December 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 Two veterans and their families will gather 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 Two Valor in the Pacific National Monument, an historic site administered by the National Park Service.

As has been the practice in previous years, veterans, relatives and visiting dignitaries will bow their heads for a moment of silence on Wednesday at 7:55 a.m., the time when the attack began.

A guided missile destroyer will render honors to the USS Arizona, and a flyover will take place.

Besides the Americans who perished, 1,178 were wounded. A dozen U.S. warships were sunk or heavily damaged in the attack which also destroyed 323 aircraft, badly crippling the Pacific fleet.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Gunna Dickson)

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Comments (5)
Oldtimer43 wrote:
How soon we forget!

Dec 07, 2013 8:39am EST  --  Report as abuse
crosshairs wrote:
It is important that history be reported correctly. Please correct your article, The battle ship Arizona was not torpedoed, it was bombed by a horizontal bomber, The bomb penetrated the deck near turret number 1 and exploded in the powder magazine, The subsequent explosion and fire ball is what sunk the ship and killed 1024 men on board.

Dec 07, 2013 9:18am EST  --  Report as abuse
SandyC69 wrote:
I was not even born in 1941, I was born in 1956, one of the earliest baby boomers. But my grandfather, who served during WWI, also served in WWII. I had four uncles, all four of which served during WWI. My father served during WWI and my aunt, a registered nurse also served, driving a jeep into a war zone, through gun fire and bombs to reach wounded soldiers, triage them, and haul them back to safe ground. She was a savior to hundreds of men, and received shrapnel wounds of her own.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor brought the US into WWII, but it also brought together all citizens, no matter political party, religion, no matter anything. They all worked together for one reason – their country. Sadly, we, the current citizens of the US, appear to be getting more and more divided, and with much hatred toward each other. I sincerely hope that it will take another bombing of Pearl Harbor to bring us back together again.

Dec 07, 2013 4:52pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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