Thousands attend Pearl Harbor anniversary ceremony in Hawaii

first_imgPEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — Thousands of people gathered at Pearl Harbor on Wednesday for a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the attack that plunged the United States into World War II and left more than 2,300 service people dead.Under a clear blue sky, a few dozen attack survivors and others assembled on a pier overlooking the harbor. They bowed their heads and observed a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m. — the same moment Japanese planes began their assault on Dec. 7, 1941.The USS Halsey sounded its whistle to start the moment. F-22 fighter jets flying in formation overhead broke the silence afterward.Earlier, Laura Stoller watched as crowds jostled for autographs and photos with survivors. Stoller accompanied her adoptive grandfather and Pearl Harbor survivor Stan VanHoose of Beloit, Wisconsin, to the event and was happy to see the veterans getting attention.“All of these men who for so long didn’t get the recognition they deserve– they’re soaking it up. And it’s so fun to see,” Stoller said.VanHoose, 96, served on the USS Maryland.Fellow survivor Jim Downing of Colorado Springs, Colorado, said he comes back to Hawaii for the anniversary commemorations to be with his shipmates.“We get together and have a great time and compare our stories,” he said.Downing said surprise, fear, anger and pride overcame him as Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor.Then a newlywed sailor, he recalled a Japanese plane flying low and slow in his direction as he rushed to his battleship from his home after hearing explosions and learning of the attack on the radio.last_img read more