Nearly 500 survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor observed a moment of silence Thursday to remember those who died in the surprise attack that pulled the United States into World War II.
"We thank those who lost their lives 65 years ago, and we honor the survivors and their families who are with us here today," said Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle.
The survivors bowed their heads at 7:55 a.m. local time, the minute planes began bombing Pearl Harbor 65 years ago.
This, they say, will be their last visit to this watery grave to share stories, exchange smiles, find peace and salute their fallen friends.
With their number quickly dwindling, survivors of Pearl Harbor gathered one last time to honor those killed by the Japanese 65 years ago, and to mark a day that lives in infamy.
"This will be one to remember," said Mal Middlesworth, president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, before the ceremony. "It's going to be something that we'll cherish forever."
The survivors have met in Pearly Harbor every five years for four decades, but they're now in their 80s or 90s and are not counting on a 70th reunion.
The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association is now losing members to age at the rate of two a day.
The survivors have made every effort to report for one final roll call.
"We're like the dodo bird. We're almost extinct," said Middlesworth, now an 83-year-old retiree from Upland, Calif., but then - on Dec. 7, 1941 - an 18-year-old Marine on the USS San Francisco.
The shocking two-hour aerial raid destroyed or heavily damaged 21 ships and 320 aircraft, killed 2,390 people and wounded 1,178 others, plunged the United States into World War II and set in motion the events that led to atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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