80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack, survivors gather to remember those lost


PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) – A few dozen Pearl Harbor survivors are expected to gather at the site of the Japanese bombing 80 years ago on Tuesday to remember those killed in the attack that launched the United States United in World War II.

Herb Elfring, 99, said he was happy to return to Pearl Harbor as he hardly survived the air assault.

“It was just good to come back and be able to be part of the remembrance of the day,” Elfring told reporters over the weekend.

Elfring was in the Army, assigned to the 251st Coastal Artillery, part of the California National Guard on December 7, 1941. He recalled zero Japanese planes flying overhead and bullets strafing his military base at Camp Malakole, in a few miles from the Pearl Harbor coast.

A veteran attends the 80th Pearl Harbor Anniversary Ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, in Honolulu.

(Marco Garcia / Associated Press)

Elfring, who lives in Jackson, Mich., Said he returned to Hawaii about 10 times to attend the annual memorial ceremony hosted by the Navy and the National Park Service.

About thirty survivors and a hundred other veterans of the war were to join him this year.

They will observe a minute of silence at 7:55 a.m., the very minute the attack began decades ago. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro is expected to deliver the opening speech.

The bombing killed more than 2,300 American soldiers. Almost half – or 1,177 – were Marines and Sailors serving on the USS Arizona, a battleship docked in the harbor.

The US Marine Corp.  fires rifle salute at Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary Ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

The US Marine Corp. fires a rifle salute during the Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary Ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Tuesday, December 7, 2021, in Honolulu.

(Marco Garcia / Associated Press)

Several women who contributed to the war effort by working in factories came to Hawaii to participate in the commemoration this year.

Mae Krier, who built B-17s and B-29s at a Boeing factory in Seattle, said it took a long time for the world to thank women for their work.

“And we fought together as far as I’m concerned. But it has taken so long to honor what we women have done. And of course I fought for that, to get our recognition, ”said Krier, who is now 95 years old. “But it was so good that they finally started to honor us.

This year’s ceremony takes place as a strong storm, accompanied by high winds and extremely heavy rain, hits Hawaii, inundating roads and knocking down power lines. Navy spokeswoman Brenda Way told The Associated Press in an email Monday that she had not heard of any discussions about the event being canceled due to the storms.

Veteran Wallace A. Johnson attends Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary Ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

Veteran Wallace A. Johnson attends the 80th Pearl Harbor Anniversary Ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, in Honolulu.

(Marco Garcia / Associated Press)

A Navy sailor plays "Faucets" at the 80th Pearl Harbor Anniversary Ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

A Navy Sailor plays “Taps” during the Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary Ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Tuesday, December 7, 2021, in Honolulu.

(Marco Garcia / Associated Press)

The USS Shaw explodes after being hit by bombs during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941.

The USS Shaw explodes after being hit by bombs during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941.

(Uncredited / Associated Press)

USS Chung Hoon walks past USS Arizona Memorial during Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary Ceremony

The USS Chung Hoon walks past the USS Arizona Memorial during the Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary Ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Tuesday, December 7, 2021, in Honolulu.

(Marco Garcia / Associated Press)

World War II veteran Fannie Griffin McClendon, left, member of the African American Women's Army Corps, and Erlinda Gallegos.

World War II veteran Fannie Griffin McClendon, left, a member of the African American Women’s Army Corps, and Erlinda Gallegos, an original Rosie The Riveter, chat together at a Remembrance Day ceremony in Pearl Harbor at the USS Arizona Anchor Memorial, Tuesday, December 7. 2021, in Phénix.

(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Pearl Harbor survivor and WWII Navy veteran David Russell, 101, from Albany, NY

Pearl Harbor survivor and WWII Navy veteran David Russell, 101, from Albany, NY, shows his commemorative bag to two servicemen before the start of the Pearl Harbor 80th anniversary ceremony in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Tuesday, December 20. 7 2021, in Honolulu.

(Marco Garcia / Associated Press)

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visit National World War II Memorial to mark 80th anniversary

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visit the National World War II Memorial to mark the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Tuesday, December 7, 2021, in Washington.

(Evan Vucci / Associated press)

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