Nation Pauses to Remember Pearl Harbor, 70 Years Later

Attack on Pearl Harbor (1941)Unrest, Conflicts and WarHuman InterestWorld War II (1939-1945)TravelTourism and LeisureU.S. Navy

OAHU, Hawaii -- Survivors of the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor will remember the 2,400 people who lost their lives 70 years ago Wednesday.

The annual commemoration in Hawaii begins at 7:40 a.m. (12:40 p.m. ET ) at the Pearl Harbor visitor center.

About 3,000 guests will witness a rifle salute, wreath presentations and recognition of those who died, according to the National Park Service, which operates the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. The venue overlooks the USS Arizona memorial.

At 7:55 a.m., the exact moment the attack began, a moment of silence will be observed. A U.S. Navy ship will render honors to the Arizona, followed by an aerial flyover in a "missing man" formation. 1941: Japan bombs Pearl Harbor

Remains of Vernon Olsen, 91, of Port Charlotte, Florida, will be interred later Wednesday in the USS Arizona, the battleship on which he served and where 1,117 sailors and Marines died in the attack.

Flying from aircraft carriers on Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese aviators attacked eight battleships, destroying two, and left a trail of death and destruction across the verdant landscape. They also struck other military installations on Oahu.

The attack shook America's confidence and ushered the country into World War II.

About 120 Pearl Harbor survivors were registered to attend Wednesday's ceremony.

The gradual loss of the World War II generation has accelerated, and this year, perhaps more than any before it, evidence of a tide change is inescapable.

The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, founded in 1958, is dissolving December 31. The passing of time, the difficulty in finding chapter officers and the health of its 2,700 members have taken their toll.

In recent years, interpretation of the attack has shifted its focus "from engagement to peace," with recognition that both sides fought a "savage war," said Daniel A. Martinez, chief historian at monument.

Martinez and other staff members have recorded video interviews with many veterans, preserving their memories. "They tell me stories they haven't told their families," he said.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Attack on Pearl Harbor (1941)Unrest, Conflicts and WarHuman InterestWorld War II (1939-1945)TravelTourism and LeisureU.S. Navy