Ceremonies Honor Pearl Harbor Victims

A few dozen graying and wrinkled Pearl Harbor survivors observed a moment of silence this morning in honor comrades who perished in the Japanese bombing of Oahu 66 years ago today.

The veterans wore aloha shirts and orchid flower lei. They saluted the flag as sailor san the "Star Spangled Banner" overlooking the sunken hull of the USS Arizona.

Eighty-three-year-old veteran George A. Smith said the survivors were not there for themselves but for the fallen.

Smith was aboard the USS Oklahoma, which is getting its own memorial for the first time.

In all, 2,388 Americans died in the Dec. 7, 1941, attacks, including some 900 still entombed in the sunken Arizona and 429 who died aboard the Okahoma.

Hawaii Air National Guard helicopters flew over the harbor in "missing man" formation in honor of those lost. B-2 stealth bombers currently deployed to Guam from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri performed an additional flyby.

Survivors of each of the nine battleships bombed in the attack took turns setting wreaths before life preservers bearing the names of their ship.

The crowd of some 2,000 family members, friends, officials and the public honored the survivors with a standing ovation and several minutes of loud applause.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-12-07-07 1458EST


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