Survivors return to Pearl Harbor 74 years after attack

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NTP: Veterans on Pearl Harbor anniversary
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Survivors return to Pearl Harbor 74 years after attack
Pearl Harbor survivor John Hughes pauses to look at a wall engraved with the names of USS Arizona sailors and Marines killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor after a wreath-laying ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. A memorial and a wreath-laying ceremony were marking the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)
Pearl Harbor survivors Lou Cantor, left, John Hughes, center, and Ed Schuler, right, pose for photos at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. The three gathered on the memorial for a wreath-laying ceremony on the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, center right, looks at the submerged wreck of the USS Arizona with his family, son Sam, from left, wife Angela and son Joe, during a visit to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. Ducey participated in a wreath-laying ceremony on board the USS Arizona Memorial after a memorial ceremony remembering those killed in the Japanese attack. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)
Pearl Harbor survivors gather on Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Pearl Harbor, Hi., before a ceremony marking the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack that launched the U.S. into World War II. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)
Pearl Harbor survivor Robert Irwin shakes the hand of his brother, Frank Broz, on Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Pearl Harbor, Hi., before a ceremony marking the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack that launched the U.S. into World War II. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)
Oil seeps out of the sunken hull of the USS Arizona before a wreath laying ceremony at the memorial to the battleship in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. Before the wreath-laying, dozens of survivors and about 3,000 others gathered for a memorial ceremony marking the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)
Frank Levingston Jr., of Lake Charles, La., who at 110 is believed to be America's oldest military veteran, is greeted by visitors following a wreath laying ceremony to mark the anniversary of Pearl Harbor at the World War II Memorial, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Washington. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 by the Japanese killed 2,403 Americans and was the catalyst for the United States to become involved in World War II. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Pearl Harbor survivor and D-Day veteran Frank Levingston Jr., of Lake Charles, La., who at 110 is believed to be America's oldest military veteran, participates in a wreath laying ceremony to mark the anniversary of Pearl Harbor at the World War II Memorial, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Washington. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 by the Japanese killed 2,403 Americans and was the catalyst for the United States to become involved in World War II. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
People gather on the dock near the battleship New Jersey during a commemoration of the 74th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Camden, N.J. In Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy and National Park Service hosted a ceremony in remembrance of those killed on Dec. 7, 1941. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
World War II veteran and original crew member of the battleship New Jersey, Russell Collins, left, salutes with others on the battleship during a commemoration of the 74th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Camden, N.J. In Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy and National Park Service hosted a ceremony in remembrance of those killed on Dec. 7, 1941. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Pearl Harbor survivors Armando Galella, left, from Sleepy Hollow, NY, Clark Simmons, center, of Brooklyn NY, and Aaron Chabin, of Bayside, Queens, NY, attend a remembrance ceremony atthe Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, in New York, in remembrance of the 74th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Visitors attend a ceremony to mark the anniversary of Pearl Harbor at the World War II Memorial, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Washington. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 by the Japanese killed 2,403 Americans and was the catalyst for the United States to become involved in World War II. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Bugler Greg Murphy plays taps on the battleship New Jersey during a commemoration of the 74th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Camden, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — A few dozen elderly men who survived the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor 74 years ago gathered at the site to remember fellow servicemen who didn't make it.

The U.S. Navy and National Park Service hosted Monday's ceremony in remembrance of those killed on Dec. 7, 1941. More than 3,000 people joined the survivors.

SEE ALSO: Rare new images reveal details of seaplane lost in Pearl Harbor attack

Adm. Harry Harris, the top U.S. military commander in the Pacific, said the day "must forever remain burned into the American consciousness."

"For 74 years, we've remembered Pearl Harbor. We've remained vigilant. And today's armed forces are ready to answer the alarm bell," said Harris, who leads the U.S. Pacific Command.

He said the military was also working to "keep the alarm bell from sounding in the first place" by refocusing its attention on Asia and the Pacific region with the aim of maintaining stability, prosperity and peace.

Ed Schuler, 94, said he keeps returning to Pearl Harbor to honor his old shipmates killed on the USS Arizona.

He said 125 sailors from his ship, a light cruiser called the USS Phoenix, had transferred to the Arizona the day before the attack. They were all killed, he said.

"I come back just to renew my acquaintance," said Schuler, who lives in San Jose, California.

Robert Irwin of Cameron Park, California, was in the barracks when the attack began and saw Japanese planes flying overhead. A fellow sailor saw a Rising Sun insignia on the wings and asked Irwin if he knew what the "red ball" was.

The seaman first class hopped on a truck that took him to the USS Pennsylvania, where he fed ammunition to the deck of the battleship.

"It brings back some lousy memories," said Irwin, of returning to Pearl Harbor. But he comes to the annual ceremony because the attack was a "big thing in my life." The 91 year old served as firefighter in San Francisco after the war and retired as a lieutenant in 1979.

Look back at photos from the attacks and aftermath at Pearl Harbor:

26 PHOTOS
Attack on Pearl Harbor - Dec. 7, 1941
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Survivors return to Pearl Harbor 74 years after attack
** FILE ** In this U.S. Navy file photo, a small boat rescues a USS West Virginia crew member from the water after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941 during World War II. Two men can be seen on the superstructure, upper center. The mast of the USS Tennessee is beyond the burning West Virginia. On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese Imperial Navy navigator Takeshi Maeda guided his Kate bomber to Pearl Harbor and fired a torpedo that helped sink the USS West Virginia. On Sunday Dec. 3, 2006, Maeda and John Rauschkolb a crewman aboard the West Virginia at the time of the attack, met face-to-face for the first time and shook hands. (AP Photo)
The destroyer USS Shaw explodes after being hit by bombs during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, December 7, 1941. (AP Photo)
** FILE ** American ships burn during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo. (AP Photo, File)
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, December 7, 1941, United States, Japan - World War II, Narional archives. Washington. (Photo by: Photo12/UIG via Getty Images)
In this image provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, destroyers in drydock at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii are battered by bombs after Japanese sneak attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Background in dock is battleship Pennsylvania, which suffered only minor damage. Destroyers are Downes, left, and Cassin, right. Machinery and fittings were transferred to new hulls and the destroyers were never stricken from Navy's active list. (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Defense)
The battleship USS West Virginia is seen afire after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, smoke rises from the battleship USS Arizona as it sinks during a Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Saturday marks the 72nd anniversary of the attack that brought the United States into World War II. (AP File Photo)
US ships 'Virginia' and 'Tennessee' on fire after the Pearl Harbor attack, December 7, 1941, World War II, Washington, National archives, . (Photo by: Photo12/UIG via Getty Images)
Officers' wives, investigating explosion and seeing smoke pall in distance on Dec. 7, 1941, heard neighbor Mary Naiden, then an Army hostess who took this picture, exclaim "There are red circles on those planes overhead. They are Japanese!" Realizing war had come, the two women, stunned, start toward quarters. (AP Photo/Mary Naiden)
This is the front page of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin announcing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. (AP Photo)
U.S. soldiers at the Presidio in San Francisco gather around the bed of one of their comrades, Dec. 7, 1941, to read an extra reporting of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by the Japanese. (AP Photo/John Young)
This picture, taken by a Japanese photographer, shows how American ships are clustered together before the surprise Japanese aerial attack on Pear Harbor, HI., on Sunday morning, Dec. 8, 1941. Minutes later the full impact of the assault was felt and Pearl Harbor became a flaming target. (AP Photo)
An undamaged light cruiser steams out past the burning USS Arizona and takes to sea with the rest of the fleet during the Japanese aerial attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941 during World War II. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy)
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)
FILE-- The infamous attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The USS Arizona is pictured in flames after the Japanese attack. On Sunday, Dec. 7, 1997, the 56th anniversary of the attack that drew the United States into World War II, two Navy men who survived the battle are scheduled to have their ashes scattered on the waters above the battleship. It is an honor extended to those who survived the attack while serving on another ship, or those who served on the Arizona before the attack.(AP Photo/U.S. Navy,File)
In this photo provided by the U.S. Army, a pall of smoke rises from fires started during the Japanese bombing of Hickam Field at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941. (AP Photo/U.S. Army)
As the deck of the capsized battleship USS Oklahoma breaks water, damage and corrosion to her superstructure are shown on May 24, 1943 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Oklahoma capsized after being hit with torpedoes in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 during World War II. (AP Photo)
A Japanese dive bomber goes into its last dive as it heads toward the ground in flames after it was hit by Naval anti-aircraft fire during surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this undated file photo, wreckage identified by the U.S. Navy as a Japanese torpedo plane was salvaged from the bottom of Pearl Harbor following the surprise attack Dec. 7, 1941. An excavation crew recently made a startling discovery at the bottom of Pearl Harbor when it unearthed a skull that archeologists suspect is from a Japanese pilot who died in the historic attack. Archaeologist Jeff Fong of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific described the discovery to The Associated Press and the efforts under way to identify the skull. He said the early analysis has made him "75 percent sure" that the skull belongs to a Japanese pilot. (AP Photo, file)
A mass of twisted metal wreckage lay along a Honolulu street after the city had been attacked by Japanese planes Dec. 7, 1941. (AP Photo)
U.S. Navy seamen examine the wreckage of a Japanese torpedo plane shot down at Pearl harbor during the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. (AP Photo)
The wing of a Japanese bomber shot down on the grounds of the Naval Hospital at Honolulu, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941. (AP Photo)
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, World War II, Washington, National archives, . (Photo by: Photo12/UIG via Getty Images)
Firemen and civilians rush to the scene with fire hoses to save homes and stores in the Japanese and Chinese sections of Honolulu, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941. As Japanese aviators rained bombs on Pearl Harbor, starting war in the Pacific, offshore properties are also wrecked and burned. (AP Photo)
Selling papers on Dec. 7, 1941 at Times Square in New York City, announcing that Japan has attacked U.S. bases in the Pacific. (AP Photo/Robert Kradin)
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The event was held on a Navy pier overlooking the USS Arizona Memorial. The pier straddles the battleship that sank nine minutes after being hit. It remains a gravesite for many of those killed.

One part of the ceremony didn't go as planned.

The Navy destroyer USS Preble was scheduled to sound its whistle to start a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the minute the attack began 74 years ago. Hawaii Air National Guard F-22s were due to fly overhead to break the silence about 45 seconds later.

But Navy Region Hawaii spokeswoman Agnes Tauyan said the program was running behind, and the Preble didn't sound its whistle. Fighter jets flew overhead on schedule, but the master of ceremonies was still speaking.

A moment of silence was held shortly afterward.

Tauyan said everyone came together to honor and remember the war dead and those who survived the attack. She said the Navy heard nothing but positive feedback about the ceremony.

"I feel we've accomplished our mission," she said. Tauyan characterized the problem with the moment of silence as a "small glitch."

More than 2,400 sailors, Marines, and soldiers were killed at Pearl Harbor and other military installations on the island of Oahu.

See more from Pearl Harbor:

Commemorating Pearl Harbor Attacks

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