Pearl Harbor attack; 72 years later

Published On: Dec 07 2013 11:10:26 AM HST
Updated On: Dec 07 2013 12:15:49 PM HST
Pearl Harbor attack anniversary

Hundreds turn out at the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center for a ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the surprise attack by Japanese forces against the United States on Dec. 7, 1941.

HONOLULU -

About 2,500 people attended a ceremony Saturday marking the 72nd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

About 50 survivors returned for the service.

"I come back to be with my comrades, meet the ones who are still alive, and we're going fast," said Delton Walling. He was assigned to the USS Pennsylvania during the attack.

The ceremony was held at the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center which is part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

The crowd observed a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the moment the bombing began at Pearl Harbor.

The silence was broken by a vintage World War II-era plane, a 1944 North American SNJ-5B.

Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander, said the U.S. remembers the warning from the those who survived.

"We remember Pearl Harbor, we are vigilant, and we are ready to fight tonight and win," Harris said. "Not only are we poised to respond to the first notes of the alarm bell, we are also doing everything possible to keep those alarms from sounding in the first place."

Former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia delivered the keynote address. The Vietnam War veteran is currently secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission which is responsible for managing overseas cemeteries for fallen American troops.

He held back tears as he spoke of his father, Joseph Cleland.

"He was my hero and he was one of 16 million that were mobilized after the attack 72 years ago today," Cleland said.

"And for all the Pearl Harbor survivors, thank you for teaching us all how to survive, how to not just survive, but how to strive, to turn things around and how to ultimately thrive in life."

A smaller ceremony was held at the former Hickam Air Force Base, which was also attacked by Japanese pilots.

A memorial parade was to be held in Waikiki Saturday night.

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