Dec. 7 (UPI) — One of the last remaining survivors of the USS Arizona attended a ceremony Saturday marking the 78th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, along with other veterans and dignitaries.
The ceremony honored 2,403 service members and civilians who died during the attack on the island of Oahu on December 7, 1941. Another 1,178 people were injured in the attack that also destroyed 188 aircraft and permanently sank two U.S. Navy battleships, the USS Arizona and USS Utah. The attack pushed the United States to enter World War II.
The Remembrance Day ceremony took place Saturday morning on the Ceremonial Lawn at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. There was a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the exact moment the attack began.
There was also a missing man flyover by the 199th Fighter Squadron, Hawaii National Air Guard and the 19th Fighter SquadronUSS Arizona survivor Lou Conter, 98, attended, along with his family, military leaders, Hawaiian dignitaries and dozens of WWII veterans.
Conter was greeted by water cannons in a hero’s welcome when his flight from Sacramento arrived in Hawaii on Tuesday, Hawaii News Now reported.
“I always come out to pay respect for the 2,403 men that were killed that day, including 1,177 of my shipmates on the Arizona,” Conter told Hawaii News Now.
Conter is one of three USS Arizona survivors still alive. The other two, Donald Stratton, 97, and Ken Potts, nearing 100, were unable to travel to Hawaii.
The ceremony included Adm. Harry Harris, Jr., ambassador to South Korea and former commander of the U.S. Pacific Command along with U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.
Other highlights included the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet Band, a Hawaiian blessing, wreath presentations, a U.S. Marine Corps rifle salute, a vintage aircraft flyover, and Echo Taps.
Later Saturday, a USS Oklahoma Memorial Ceremony was scheduled. That ceremony will honor the 429 crewmen killed aboard the battleship hit by eight to 12 torpedoes in the attack.
The Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade and Ceremony was also on tap for Saturday afternoon.
The final commemoration event Saturday is the 13th Annual for Love of Country Gala at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. The event, which brings together hundreds of guests each year, raises funds for the museum’s education and restoration efforts.
In a separate gathering, the family of sailor Lauren Bruner, the second-to-last person of the 337 men to get off the USS Arizona alive, who died at age 98, will hold a funeral at the USS Arizona Memorial Saturday evening. A team of military divers will receive the the urn of his ashes and place it in the hull of the USS Arizona wreckage.
“On National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we solemnly reflect on the tragic events of December 7, 1941, and honor those who perished while defending our nation,” the White House tweeted.
On Sunday afternoon the Pearl Harbor Wounded Veteran in Parks project scheduled a live, interactive broadcast from the submerged USS Arizona to be shown in the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center’s theater.