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Pearl Harbor ceremony marks bombing anniversary

  • Pearl Harbor survivors watch a vintage WWII airplane fly over Pearl Harbor at the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

    Pearl Harbor survivors watch a vintage WWII airplane fly over Pearl Harbor at the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

  • Pearl Harbor survivor Mal Middlesworth, center, sits with other Pearl Harbor survivors before the start of ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

    Pearl Harbor survivor Mal Middlesworth, center, sits with other Pearl Harbor survivors before the start of ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

  • Pearl Harbor survivor Alvis Taylor waits for the start of the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in Honolulu on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

    Pearl Harbor survivor Alvis Taylor waits for the start of the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in Honolulu on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

  • Pearl Harbor survivor Sterling Cale, left, and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer wait for the start of ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

    Pearl Harbor survivor Sterling Cale, left, and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer wait for the start of ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

  • With the USS Arizona in the background, Navy rifleman stands at attention at the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

    With the USS Arizona in the background, Navy rifleman stands at attention at the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

  • Pearl Harbor survivor John R. Stevens salutes the flag at the start of ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

    Pearl Harbor survivor John R. Stevens salutes the flag at the start of ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

  • US Marines Brig Gen Richard Simcock salutes a flower wreath in the memorial room aboard the USS Arizona Memorial during the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

    US Marines Brig Gen Richard Simcock salutes a flower wreath in the memorial room aboard the USS Arizona Memorial during the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

  • Navy chaplain Sal Aguliera, left, shares a moment with Pearl Harbor survivor Allen Bodenlos, center, who is being escorted by Navy petty officer Michael Temple aboard the USS Arizona Memorial during the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

    Navy chaplain Sal Aguliera, left, shares a moment with Pearl Harbor survivor Allen Bodenlos, center, who is being escorted by Navy petty officer Michael Temple aboard the USS Arizona Memorial during the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

  • Pearl Harbor survivor Lou Contor stands in the memorial room aboard the USS Arizona Memorial during the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

    Pearl Harbor survivor Lou Contor stands in the memorial room aboard the USS Arizona Memorial during the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

  • With the USS Arizona in the background, Navy rifleman stand during the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

    With the USS Arizona in the background, Navy rifleman stand during the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

  • A vintage WWII airplane flies over Pearl Harbor during the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

    A vintage WWII airplane flies over Pearl Harbor during the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

  • Dwight Hanson, right, helps Pearl Harbor survivor Wilbur Spaudling, 93, stand for the national anthem at the start of the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  Hanson said he does not know Spaulding but wanted to help him stand. Spaudling was based at Schofield Barracks during the surprise Japanese attack.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

    Dwight Hanson, right, helps Pearl Harbor survivor Wilbur Spaudling, 93, stand for the national anthem at the start of the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu. Hanson said he does not know Spaulding but wanted to help him stand. Spaudling was based at Schofield Barracks during the surprise Japanese attack. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

  • Former U.S. Senator Max Cleland speaks at the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

    Former U.S. Senator Max Cleland speaks at the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

  • Pearl Harbor survivors watch a vintage WWII airplane fly over Pearl Harbor at the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
  • Pearl Harbor survivor Mal Middlesworth, center, sits with other Pearl Harbor survivors before the start of ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
  • Pearl Harbor survivor Alvis Taylor waits for the start of the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in Honolulu on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
  • Pearl Harbor survivor Sterling Cale, left, and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer wait for the start of ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
  • With the USS Arizona in the background, Navy rifleman stands at attention at the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
  • Pearl Harbor survivor John R. Stevens salutes the flag at the start of ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
  • US Marines Brig Gen Richard Simcock salutes a flower wreath in the memorial room aboard the USS Arizona Memorial during the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
  • Navy chaplain Sal Aguliera, left, shares a moment with Pearl Harbor survivor Allen Bodenlos, center, who is being escorted by Navy petty officer Michael Temple aboard the USS Arizona Memorial during the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
  • Pearl Harbor survivor Lou Contor stands in the memorial room aboard the USS Arizona Memorial during the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
  • With the USS Arizona in the background, Navy rifleman stand during the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
  • A vintage WWII airplane flies over Pearl Harbor during the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
  • Dwight Hanson, right, helps Pearl Harbor survivor Wilbur Spaudling, 93, stand for the national anthem at the start of the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  Hanson said he does not know Spaulding but wanted to help him stand. Spaudling was based at Schofield Barracks during the surprise Japanese attack.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
  • Former U.S. Senator Max Cleland speaks at the ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

About 50 survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii paused yesterday at the site to honor those killed and to remember the moment that plunged the United States into World War II.

Alvis Taylor, 90, was serving as an Army medic when the attack began. His superiors, who were doctors, rushed to hospitals to care for the wounded and left him in charge. He went to Pearl Harbor, about 18 miles south of his Army post at Schofield Barracks, with dozens of ambulances.

“I remember everything that happened that day,” Taylor said grimly.

A crowd of about 2,500 joined the survivors at Pearl Harbor to honor those killed and those who fired back, rescued the burned and went on to serve during the war. Roughly 2,400 sailors, Marines and soldiers were killed at Pearl Harbor and other military installations on the island of Oahu in the Dec. 7, 1941, attack.

Taylor, who lives in Davenport, Iowa, decided to return to Pearl Harbor for the first time since the war this week because the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America paid for him and his wife to make the trip.

Of the tens of thousands of servicemen who survived, about 2,000 to 2,500 are still living.

Delton Walling, who was assigned to the USS Pennsylvania at the time of the attack, said they’re “in the twilight years.”

“I come back to be with my comrades – meet the ones who are still alive, and we’re going fast,” said Walling, who is 92 and lives near Sacramento, Calif.

The crowd observed a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the minute the bombing began 72 years ago.

A vintage World War II-era airplane – a 1944 North American SNJ-5B – flew overhead to break the silence. The Hawaii Air National Guard has used its fighter jets and helicopters to perform the flyover for many years, but federal budget cuts prevented it from participating this year.

The Navy and National Park Service co-hosted the ceremony, which was open to the public.

U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, Adm. Harry Harris Jr., said the U.S. remembers Pearl Harbor and is vigilant.

“The United States is and will remain a Pacific power. But we also remember the warning from those who survived Pearl Harbor, and we are increasing our vigilance accordingly,” Harris said. “Today, we are focused as we listen for the sound of the alarms.”

Former U.S. senator Max Cleland of Georgia, choking back tears at times, spoke of his father who served in the Navy during the war.

“He was my hero,” Cleland said in his keynote address.

“For all the Pearl Harbor survivors, thank you for teaching us all how to survive,” Cleland said. “How to not just survive but how to strive, to turn things around. And how to ultimately thrive in life.”

Cleland, who lost both legs and his right arm fighting in the Vietnam War, is secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission. The commission is responsible for managing overseas cemeteries for fallen American troops.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer were among those attending.

Brewer said it was an honor to be there among the survivors.

“Pearl Harbor was such a horrific tragedy in the U.S., but it makes me proud to know that the men here are the fabric of what America is made of,” Brewer said in a statement after the ceremony.

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