Speed Reads

in remembrance

Pearl Harbor survivors return to Hawaii to mark 80th anniversary of attack

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, 32 survivors attended a Tuesday ceremony at the site, honoring the fallen.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese bombers attacked U.S. Navy ships at the Pearl Harbor base in Hawaii, bringing the United States into World War II. More than 2,300 U.S. troops were killed at Pearl Harbor, with almost half of them serving on the USS Arizona.

In addition to the Pearl Harbor survivors, about 100 World War II veterans attended the ceremony, as well as an original Rosie the Riveter and several women who worked in factories as part of the war effort. Addressing the crowd, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said the event allows Americans to "recognize, honor, and give thanks to the generation of military veterans and civilians who served during World War II."

Herb Elfring, now 99, was part of the Army and California National Guard, stationed at Camp Malakole, just a few miles from Pearl Harbor. He remembers the Japanese planes flying overhead and bullets hitting the base. Elfring flew from Michigan to Hawaii for the 80th anniversary ceremony, telling the Los Angeles Times, "It was just plain good to get back and be able to participate in the remembrance of the day."

Dick Higgins, 100, also made the trek to Oahu, traveling to the island from his home in Bend, Oregon. His friend Scot Brees told KTVZ that "for all of the veterans, and Dick in particular, they were all very circumspect. Many of them talked very openly about how this may be the last time they ever attend one of these. ... Most expect that the next time they run around for a remembrance ceremony on a five-year mark, there probably won't be any remaining."