PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — More than 2,000 people are expected at a ceremony Saturday to remember those killed when Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor 78 years ago and launched the U.S. into World War II.
Organizers of the public event at the Hawaii naval base say attendees will include about a dozen survivors of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack, the youngest of whom are now in their late 90s.
A moment of silence is scheduled for 7:55 a.m., the same minute the assault began. U.S. Air Force fighter jets flying overhead in missing man formation will break the quiet.
Retired Navy Adm. Harry Harris, currently the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, is due to deliver remarks, along with Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.
The ceremony comes on the heels of two deadly shootings at Navy bases this week, one at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and another at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.
A Pearl Harbor National Memorial spokesman said security will be beefed up as usual for the annual event.
The 1941 aerial assault killed more than 2,300 U.S. troops. Nearly half — or 1,177 — were Marines and sailors serving on the USS Arizona, a battleship moored in the harbor. The vessel sank within nine minutes of being hit, taking most of its crew down with it.
The ship still rests in the harbor today and is a grave for more than 900 men killed in the attack. Each year, nearly 2 million people visit the white memorial structure built above the ship.
An internment ceremony is scheduled to be held at sunset on the memorial for one of the Arizona’s sailors who survived the attack, Lauren Bruner. He died earlier this year at age 98.
Bruner asked that an urn with his ashes be placed inside the Arizona’s sunken hull upon his death. His ashes will join the remains of 44 shipmates who managed to live through the attack but wanted to be laid to rest in the ship. Bruner explained before he died that he preferred being interred in the Arizona so he could join his buddies and because of the memorial’s high number of visitors.
Bruner is expected to be the last Arizona crew member to be interred on the ship. The three Arizona survivors still living plan to be laid to rest with their families.