Thursday, December 07, 2006
Hundreds of people are expected to gather at Pearl Harbor on Thursday to mark the 65th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The National Park Service and Navy Region Hawaii will host a ceremony for the Dec. 7, 1941 attack. The event will run from 7:40 to 9:30 a.m. at Kilo Pier.The venue looks directly out on the USS Arizona Memorial. Former News anchor Tom Brokaw will deliver the keynote address. With their number quickly dwindling, survivors of the attack that forced the U.S. into World War II said this will be their final farewell. The survivors have met at Pearl Harbor every five years for four decades. But they're now in their 80s or 90s and are not counting on a 70th reunion.Nearly 500 survivors from across the nation are expected to make the trip to Hawaii to be on hand on Thursday. The U.S. Pacific Fleet Band will perform. Organizers also planned for wreath presentations and a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the exact moment the Japanese attack. A U.S. Navy ship will present honors to the USS Arizona, the ship that sunk and claimed the lives of 1,177 sailors. Hawaii Air National Guard F-15s are scheduled to fly over the memorial in a missing man formation. The two-hour aerial raid destroyed or heavily damaged 21 ships and 320 aircraft, killed 2,390 people and wounded 1,178 others.There are two other events happening on Thursday involving military history. There will a groundbreaking for the USS Oklahoma Memorial. The Battleship Oklahoma suffered the second-worst casualties in the attack. The Pacific Aviation Museum will hold its grand opening on Ford Island. Legendary test pilot retired Gen. Chuck Yeager and former NASA astronaut retired Navy Capt. Wally Schirra will speak at the opening.