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Rhode Island vets to get preview of film

PROVIDENCE, R.I. >> Rhode Island veterans are getting a sneak peek at a World War II documentary that will premiere at Pearl Harbor for this year’s 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack.

The Rhode Island-based World War II Foundation produced the documentary, “Remember Pearl Harbor.”

Tim Gray, the nonprofit’s chairman, said he wants to thank local veterans for their service before taking the documentary to Hawaii. It will be shown today at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence.

Veterans of all conflicts and current service members can go for free. General admission is $13.

Gray is dedicating the event to Raymond Haerry, one of the last living crew members on the battleship USS Arizona during the attack. Haerry, who was interviewed for the documentary, died Sept. 27 in Rhode Island at the age of 94.

The 84-minute documentary features interviews with veterans and survivors of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack, with narration by actor Tom Selleck. The Rhode Island event will include a question-­and-answer session with Gray and WWII veterans.

Gray is expecting about 20 WWII veterans to attend. Raymond Haerry Jr. is also expected to attend to share his father’s stories about the Arizona.

“We’re remembering that day which changed America forever,” Gray said.

The documentary’s official premiere is Dec. 4 at Pearl Harbor as part of the 75th anniversary ceremonies. It will also air on more than 100 PBS stations nationwide, Gray said.

Meanwhile, in Tucson, Ariz., a privately funded memorial honoring the U.S. service members who died aboard the USS Arizona during the Japanese attack is under construction on the University of Arizona campus.

KGUN-TV reports that officials say the project should be completed in time for a Dec. 4 ceremony, three days before the anniversary of the attack in which more than 2,400 sailors, Marines and soldiers were killed.

The memorial honors the 1,177 service members who died on the battleship. The memorial will include bronze medallions inscribed with their names and an outline of the warship’s deck.

“If they come out and take a look at more than a couple of these medallions, they’ll very quickly realize that most of the men that died were very young,” said the designer, Davis Carter.

The memorial will complement artifacts at the Student Union, including a bell from the ship.

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