HONOLULU (AP) — Officials gathered in Pearl Harbor on Monday to remember those killed in the 1941 Japanese attack, though public health measures adopted because of the coronavirus pandemic prevented survivors from attending.
The military broadcast video of the ceremony live online for survivors and members of the public to watch from afar.
“I think it’s too bad, but it’s for safety reasons,” said Warren Upton, a 101-year-old who served on the USS Utah. He plans to watch the event from his home in San Jose, California.
A moment of silence was held at 7:55 a.m., the same time the attack began 79 years ago. Aircraft took flight above the harbor in missing man formation immediately afterward.
Also during the ceremony, sailors aboard a Navy guided missile destroyer passed by the USS Arizona with its sailors standing along the rails to honor the sunken battleship. The Arizona remains in the same spot where it sank in 1941 after being hit by two bombs. More than 900 sailors and Marines remain entombed on board.
Altogether more than 2,300 U.S. troops died in the attack.
Upton was getting ready to shave when he felt the first torpedo hitting the Utah. No one on board knew what caused the ship to shake. Then, the second torpedo hit and the ship began to list and capsize.
Upton swam ashore to Ford Island, where he jumped in a trench to avoid strafing planes. He sought refuge there for about 30 minutes until a truck came and took him to safety.
Utpon said he doesn’t mind talking about that day. What upsets him more is losing shipmates over the years. He said only three crew members of the Utah are still alive, including himself.