Survivors to Remember Pearl Harbor 12/07 06:10
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) -- A few dozen survivors of Pearl Harbor are
expected to gather Tuesday at the site of the Japanese bombing 80 years ago to
remember those killed in the attack that launched the U.S. into World War II.
Herb Elfring, 99, said he's glad to return to Pearl Harbor considering he
almost didn't live through the aerial assault.
"It was just plain good to get back and be able to participate in the
remembrance of the day," Elfring told reporters over the weekend.
Elfring was in the Army, assigned to the 251st Coast Artillery, part of the
California National Guard on Dec. 7, 1941. He recalled Japanese zero planes
flying overhead and bullets strafing his Army base at Camp Malakole, a few
miles down the coast from Pearl Harbor.
Elfring, who lives in Jackson, Michigan, said he has returned to Hawaii
about 10 times to attend the annual memorial ceremony hosted by the Navy and
the National Park Service.
About 30 survivors and about 100 other veterans of the war were expected to
join him this year.
They will observe a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the same minute the
attack began decades ago. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro is expected to deliver
the keynote speech.
The bombing 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
Several women who helped the war effort by working in factories have come to
Hawaii to participate in the remembrance this year.
Mae Krier, who built B-17s and B-29s at a Boeing plant in Seattle, said it
took the world a while to credit women for their work.
"And we fought together as far as I'm concerned. But it took so long to
honor what us women did. And so of course, I've been fighting hard for that, to
get our recognition," said Krier, who is now 95. "But it was so nice they
finally started to honor us."
This year's ceremony takes place as a strong storm packing high winds and
extremely heavy rains hits Hawaii, flooding roads and downing power lines. Navy
spokesperson Brenda Way told The Associated Press in an email Monday that she
has heard of no discussion of canceling the event because of the storms.