72 years later
By AUDREY McAVOY
PEARL HARBOR — About 50 survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor paused Saturday at the site to honor those killed and remember the moment that plunged the U.S. 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 Oahu in the Dec. 7, 1941, attack.
This was the first time Taylor, who lives in Davenport, Iowa, returned to Pearl Harber since the war.
Of the tens of thousands of servicemen who survived, about 2,000 to 2,500 are still living.
The crowd observed a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the minute the bombing began 72 years ago. Attendees sat in a grassy spot overlooking the memorial to the USS Arizona battleship that sank in the attack.
A vintage World War II-era airplane — a 1944 North American SNJ-5B — flew overhead to break the silence.
The Navy and National Park Service cohosted the ceremony, which was open to the public.
Current U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, Adm. Harry B. 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.”
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