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Thousands honor Pearl Harbor heroes who ‘never took a knee’

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    U.S. Navy sailors saluted the USS Utah from aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Halsey to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor today at Pearl Harbor.

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    The USS Halsey passed by the Arizona Memorial this morning during the moment of silence at the Pearl Harbor 75th Commemoration.

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Lou Conter, who was a USS Arizona crewman on Dec. 7, 1941, was at the Pearl Harbor 75th Commemoration today.

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    A U.S. Navy sailor manned the rails while on parade rest as the USS Arizona memorial was seen in the background on a pass and review aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Halsey to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor today at Pearl Harbor.

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    U.S. Navy sailors saluted the USS Arizona on a pass and review aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Halsey to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor today at Pearl Harbor.

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    U.S. Navy sailors saluted the USS Arizona on a pass and review aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Halsey to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor today at Pearl Harbor.

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    U.S. Navy sailors saluted the USS Arizona on a pass and review aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Halsey to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor today at Pearl Harbor.

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors with the 199th and 19th Squadron Hawaiian Raptors performed a missing-man formation flyover above the USS Arizona, as seen from aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Halsey to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor today at Pearl Harbor.

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    U.S. Navy sailors saluted the USS Utah from aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Halsey to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor today at Pearl Harbor.

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    A patrol boat sailed past the Arizona Memorial this morning.

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Pearl Harbor 75th Commemoration, at Kilo Pier. Pearl Harbor survivor Delton Walling, right, posed for a photo.

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    U.S. Navy Seaman Benjamin J. Pourchot manned the rails of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Halsey as it got underway for ceremonies to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor today, in Pearl Harbor.

Update 9:15 a.m.

The roughly 90-minute Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony at Kilo Pier ends with the playing of “Echo Taps.“

Update 9 a.m.

Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr., in closing his remarks, says tells the veterans, “We owe you an immeasurable debt and we can’t thank you enough.”

Update 8:45 a.m.

In his keynote speech, Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, elicits a standing ovation as he honored the Pearl Harbor veterans, saying they “never took a knee” when they heard the national anthem.

Update 8:40 a.m.

Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander of Navy Region Hawaii, thanks the assembled veterans, telling them, “You changed the world forever.”

Update: 8:25 a.m.

The Rev. Tsuneko Tanaka of the Japan Religious Committee for World Federation tells the thousands gathered at Pearl Harbor, “We are living proof that time heals.”

Update: 8:05 a.m.

The Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony got underway with a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m. to mark the time, 75 years ago, when the Japanese attack began. The moment of silence was followed by an F-22 missing-man formation flyover and the singing of the National Anthem and Hawaii Pono’i. The missile destroyer USS Halsey then rendered “pass-in-review honors” to the Arizona Memorial. From Kilo Pier overlooking the USS Arizona Memorial, Donald Stratton — one of four of the five Arizona survivors attending today’s ceremony — returned the salute of the Halsey’s sailors.

Previous coverage

In the tragedy that was Pearl Harbor, about 2,455 men, women and children were killed in the attacks on Oahu.

The total includes 2,390 American service members and Oahu civilians, 56 Japanese aviators, and up to nine Japanese submariners.

This morning at Pearl Harbor, the nation remembers the date that lives in infamy 75 years later.

Thousands of people, including hundreds of attack survivors and World War II veterans — most in their 90s and older, have gathered at Kilo Pier overlooking the Arizona Memorial and at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center to pay tribute to the fallen.

As every year on this date, there will be speeches, taps will be played, a missing-man formation flyover and at 7:55 a.m. — the time the attack began — a moment of silence.

But this 75th anniversary is different with many more of the Greatest Generation making the pilgrimage to pay one final salute to their comrades. The guests today include four of the five remaining USS Arizona survivors.

USS Arizona dead would total 1,177 — the single greatest loss of life in U.S. Navy history.

Hawaii’s service members and civilians paid the initial price, but Japan would face a much greater one as America’s economic might and fighting spirit eventually brought victory in the Pacific.

“Pearl Harbor is a saga of swift action, stark tragedy and great heroism,” author Gordon W. Prange wrote in “At Dawn We Slept.”

Stories abound of U.S. military men, unprepared for what had come, standing up to fight back in the face of the onslaught.

On Tuesday, at a ceremony at Ewa Field, retired Marine Maj. John Hughes, 97, who returned fire on Dec. 7, 1941, with a Springfield bolt-action rifle, said he has no ill feelings toward the Japanese.

“On this 75th anniversary,” said Daniel Martinez, chief historian at the USS Arizona Memorial, “as we pause here to remember Pearl Harbor and also now to celebrate 70 years of peace between the United States and Japan, we can look at the words that Mr. Hughes said — that he has no ill feelings toward (the Japanese) — and we can move forward.”

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  • Our current sitting POTUS should be here in person today on the actual 75th anniversary. Instead he schedules his visit to Pearl Harbor during his annual golf vacation. What a shame.

  • Thought it would be no big deal to watch the ceremony but hearing our Natjonal Anthem, it deeply touched me. May we have Peace on Earth. God Bless America.

  • Truth will Triumph……….the right prevails……God Bless America…..kudos to all Vets.

    I salute my 89 year old Uncle in Alameda California, who served in the Coast Guard during WWII. I talked to him this morning and he wished he was at Pearl Harbor today……but too sick to travel…..his time on Earth is short

    • These PH heroes fought and died for our freedom and rights, including taking a knee during the NA. But, while it means they have a right to do it, it doesn’t make it right to do. Most are professional athletes who know they are public figures so they’ll be seen on TV. And, the media foolishly focuses on them! I wonder how many of these athletes live paycheck to paycheck, catch the bus or subway to practice, or don’t know where their next meal is coming from? Maybe instead of taking a knee to show you are upset, DO something to improve conditions! How about donating the bulk your salary for this year to the needy? Open a youth center and continue to fund it after it’s built! VOLUNTEER in troubled neighborhoods. Now, THAT would be something that would impress me!

        • Probably, but now that they are in a position to DO something about it, they should! I can barely make ends meet on my fixed retirement income, but I still donate and volunteer where I can because I want to make our society a better place. I don’t “take a knee” to show I’m not happy with some of the things that are going on. Are you saying that because these professional athletes once had it bad, that they deserve to “take a knee?” To me, if they did have it bad in their past, all the MORE reason they should try to help now!

  • With the Aloha stadium Rail portion done, you could actually view the ceremony from the top. Outstanding. In the future residence and visors will have a sweeping view of PH as you ride Rail.

  • In God we trust! May the faithful departed rest in peace. Let the people of our country stand proud on hearing our National Anthem with love and peace in our hearts. May God bless everyone of you! In God we trust!

  • Regarding:
    “In his keynote speech, Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, elicits a standing ovation as he honored the Pearl Harbor veterans, saying they “never took a knee” when they heard the national anthem.”

    I wonder how these vets feel about Colin Kaepernick ???

    Sure glad he and Hussein decided to stay away.
    Unfortunately… Hussein will sneak back (at taxpayer’s nickle) too soon.
    Why can’t he spend Christmas in his home-town of Chicago ???!!!

    • You got it flaco—just watching the History channel about the sneak attack and FDR is waiting the the right “politically correct” time to announce the assault. McArthur gave two reports on the imminent attacks but they were ignored by the Democratic administration. Glad Trump is putting people in who work for a living.

  • As a veteran, I tend to wince when people “thank me for my service” it seems such hollow gesture. However, these victorious veterans truly do deserve our gratitude for their valiant efforts, guided through same by forthright leadership in the military as well as the government. Hopefully, we will some day see the likes of such leadership again.

  • Great photos from Marcel…thank you for being there and sharing. AWESOME ceremony yesterday – and after 75 years, it’s all about the SURVIVORS and the WWII Veterans (and their loved ones that were there). These days, it seems everybody gets some kind of ceremony – but this ceremony, on December 7, in Pearl Harbor, is for the Survivors and WWII Vets. The theme gets clouded by different organizations or groups, or even politics I see in comments thread. There was a lot of aloha out there yesterday – thank you for the salute to our returning Survivors and WWII Vets.

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