The survivors met on Thursday at the site of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to remember their fellow servicemen killed in the early morning raid 76 years ago, paying tribute to the thousands who died with a solemn ceremony that marked the bombing surprise that World War II.
About 20 survivors attended the event in a harbor overlooking the grass and the USS Arizona Memorial. They were joined by some 2,000 Navy sailors, officials and members of the public.
Gilbert Meyer, who survived the bombing of December 7, 1941, said he returned to pay his respects to his USS Utah colleagues, and say a prayer for them.
The 94-year-old man who lives near Lytle, Texas, was an 18-year-old first-class firefighter when a torpedo hit the port side of Utah. He said he is still alive because he was on the starboard side of the ship.
"I think about my teammates and how they were killed, it reminds me that we were lucky to have come down and that we made a good country for them," Meyer said.
Meyer then served in the battles at Attu, Kiska, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He witnessed the surrender of Japan in 1945 from the deck of the USS Detroit in Tokyo Bay.
Herbert Elfring recalled having exploded the bombs and at first thought that the explosions were American training exercises.
Then a painting of a fighter plane with World War II in Japan. The badge of the sun machine-gunned the base of the Makaole Camp where Elfring, 19 at that time, was serving. The bullets missed him about 15 feet (5 meters).
"When I looked up and saw the red ball in the fuselage, I knew it was not our plane," he said. that it was a Japanese Airplane. "
The man from Jackson, Michigan, is now 95 years old. He said returning to Pearl Harbor for the anniversary of the attack makes him feel special because he is one of the few remaining survivors.
"I have one of those caps that says 'Pearl Harbor Survivor'," he said. "It's amazing how many people are coming and thanking me for my service."
The ceremony began with a moment of silence in honor of those who lost their lives. The time was scheduled for 7:55 a.m. at the same time the attack began. Four fighter jets from the Hawaiian National Air Guard F-22 broke "The heroes with us assured us that Pearl Harbor would not be the end of the story," said Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift. "Instead of retiring from the fight, the US Pacific Fleet stepped on their heels, and along the way, they forged a cultural heritage of resilience that sailors continue to use today."
The Navy Service and the National Park organize the ceremony every year at the same time, the attack began. Usually, a Navy ship with sailors driving the rails goes through the USS Arizona Memorial during the event. This year, a ship will not participate due to operational commitments, said Bill Doughty, spokesman for the Hawaii Navy Region.
More than 2,300 soldiers were killed in the assault carried out by Japanese planes. Almost half were in the USS Arizona, which exploded and sank after being hit by two bombs. The majority of the fallen of Arizona are buried in the battleship, that is in the bottom of the port.
After the ceremony, survivors and dignitaries were expected to board a boat at the Arizona memorial and to present wreaths in memory of those killed. 19659002] "On behalf of a proud and proud Pacific Rim Pacific nation, I would like to thank our veterans of Pearl Harbor and World War II who still carry the burden and bear the scars of those fateful days," said Swift. "We honor you for the proud cultural heritage of victory and harshness that you have bestowed upon each of us who now wear the uniform in your honor."
Japan and the United States became close allies after the war.