Survivors gather to remember Pearl Harbor attack

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Survivors gather to remember Pearl Harbor attack
FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2012 file photo, a gravestone identifying the resting place of 7 unknowns from the USS Oklahoma is shown at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. The Pentagon says it will disinter and try to identify the remains of up to 388 unaccounted for sailors and Marines killed when the USS Oklahoma sank in the 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy, File)
FILE - In this file image provided by the U.S. Navy, crewmen of the USS Nevada still fight flames on the battleship, battered in the Japanese aerial attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. It was hit with at least six Japanese bombs and a torpedo that opened a 45-by-35 foot gash in the side of the ship. It was intentionally run aground, but its crew continued to fight and was the first to shoot down a Japanese aircraft. At the end of the battle, 50 Nevada crew members died and 140 were wounded. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, file)
Torpedoed and bombed by the Japanese, the battleship USS West Virginia begins to sink after suffering heavy damage, center, while the USS Maryland, left, is still afloat in Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941 during World War II. The capsized USS Oklahoma is at right. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: Delton E. Walling is given an anchor pin by Chief Petty Officer Rex Parmelee before the start of a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on the island of Oahu at the Pacific National Monument on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: Pearl Harbor survivor Delton E. Walling (center) speaks with Chief Petty Officer Rex Parmelee before the start of a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on the island of Oahu at the Pacific National Monument on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: The U.S.S. Chung-Hoon passes the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on the island of Oahu at the Pacific National Monument on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: The U.S.S. Chung-Hoon performs a pass in review during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on the island of Oahu at the Pacific National Monument on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: Kathryn Holt kisses U.S.S. Arizona survivor Louis Conter on his cheek before the start of a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on the island of Oahu at the Pacific National Monument on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: A color guard is seen during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on the island of Oahu at the Pacific National Monument on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: U.S.S. Arizona survivor Louis Conter during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: U.S.S. Arizona survivor John Anderson is seen during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: A tugboat is seen during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: Members of the different branches of the military form a corridor for the walk of honor during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: Echo taps is played during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: U.S.S. Arizona survivors John Anderson and Donald Stratton stand in front of the remembrance wall in the shrine room of the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on the island of Oahu at the Pacific National Monument on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: U.S.S. Arizona survivor Louis Conter salutes the remembrance wall of the U.S.S. Arizona during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: U.S.S. Arizona survivor John Anderson salutes the remembrance wall of the U.S.S. Arizona shrine room during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: A pair of F-22 Raptors fly overhead during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on the island of Oahu at the Pacific National Monument on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: U.S.S. Arizona survivor Lauren Bruner during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: U.S.S. Arizona survivor Don Stratton stands in front of the U.S.S. Arizona remembrance wall in the shrine room during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on the island of Oahu at the Pacific National Monument on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: U.S.S. Arizona survivor Donald Stratton stands in front of the remembrance wall in the shrine room the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on the island of Oahu at the Pacific National Monument on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: U.S.S. Arizona survivors Donald Stratton, Louis Conter, John Anderson, and Lauren Bruner, talk with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in the shrine room of the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on the island of Oahu at the Pacific National Monument on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: National Park Service Park Ranger Christopher Chang rings the bell of the U.S.S. Arizona during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: U.S.S. Arizona survivor Louis Conter sits with other Pearl Harbor Survivors before the start of a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on the island of Oahu at the Pacific National Monument on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: Pearl Harbor survivors are saluted while participating in the honor walk during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII - DECEMBER 07: U.S.S. Arizona survivor Louis Conter and other Pearl Harbor survivors salute the U.S.S. Chung-Hoon as it performs a pass in review during a memorial service for the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl harbor on the island of Oahu at the Pacific National Monument on December 07, 2014 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor, marking the entry of the U.S. in World War II. More than 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, with dozens of Navy vessels either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
Pearl Harbor survivors, from left, Roland Nee, of Rush Springs, Okla., Arles Cole of Tulsa, Okla., and Paul Goodyear of Casa Grande, Ariz., listen somberly as Ed Vezey, not in photo, talks in Oklahoma City, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007, during a ceremony honoring the 429 crew members of the USS Oklahoma who lost their lives in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) - Many of the veterans who survived the Pearl Harbor attack that launched the United States into World War II attended Sunday's 73rd anniversary ceremony with the help of canes, wheelchairs and motorized scooters.

Wearing purple orchid lei, about 100 Pearl Harbor and World War II survivors attended the ceremony overlooking a memorial that sits atop sunken battleship USS Arizona. Many of them arrived well before the sun came up.

This year's anniversary is the 10th consecutive one that USS Utah survivor Gilbert Meyer attended. But it's getting harder for Meyer, 91, to travel to Hawaii from San Antonio.

Asked if he planned to attend next year's anniversary, he responded with a chuckle, "That's like asking me if I'll still be alive."

Harold Johnson, 90, is making it a goal to attend the 75th anniversary, even though traveling from Oak Harbor, Washington, isn't always easy. "I've got a little scooter that's a real life saver," the USS Oklahoma survivor said.

Johnson had been aboard the Oklahoma for just six months on Dec. 7, 1941, looking forward to a day off and a "date with a little Hawaiian girl." He was shining his shoes when the first alarm went off, he recalled.

"Three months later I ran into her in town in Honolulu," he said of his date. "She was mad at me because I stood her up."

For many of the roughly 2,000 survivors who remain, there are also more painful memories.

'This Day in History': 12/07/1941 - Pearl Harbor Bombed

Keynote speaker Gen. Lori Robinson, commander of Pacific Air Forces, told the crowd of several thousand about four of the nine remaining survivors of the USS Arizona. Don Stratton, 92, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Lauren Bruner, 94, of La Mirada, California, were two of six men who escaped the inferno that engulfed the forward half of the ship by negotiating a line, hand over hand, about 45 feet in the air, despite burns to more than 60 percent of their bodies. John Anderson, 97, of Roswell, New Mexico, was ordered off the ship, but he didn't want to leave behind his twin brother, Delbert. Even though he was forced into a small boat that took him to Ford Island, he commandeered an empty boat and returned to the Arizona to rescue three shipmates. But he never found his brother.

"When the Arizona sank, she took with her 1,177 sailors and Marines," Robinson told the crowd, which included Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Hawaii Gov. David Ige.

Robinson also highlighted the sacrifices of the Honolulu Fire Department, which was dispatched to respond after receiving the alarm at 8:05 a.m. "Without knowing it, the Honolulu Fire Department was going to war," she said. "Three firefighters would never return, and six others would be seriously injured."

The ceremony also featured a Japanese peace prayer, a Hawaiian blessing and a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the minute the bombing began. F-22s from the Hawaii Air National Guard 199th Fighter Squadron and Air Force 19th Fighter Squadron conducted a flyover.

Later in the afternoon, the four USS Arizona survivors planned to visit the memorial for a toast to their fallen shipmates with a glass of sparkling wine given to their survivors association by President Gerald Ford, using glasses that are replicas of the ones on the ship. After the toast, divers would place one of the glasses at the base of the Arizona's gun turret four. It's where ashes of 38 Arizona survivors are interred.

This year's anniversary will likely be the last one Ervin Brody, 91, of Houston attends. "Expenses are getting up there and we're retired," he said. "A lot of us figure this will be the last."

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