HONOLULU, HI (AP) - Pearl Harbor survivor Gilbert Meyer says he returned to the site of the 1941 Japanese bombing on Thursday to pay his respects and say a prayer for his shipmates from the USS Utah, which was one of the ships damaged in the bombing.
Photo: U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation
The 94-year who lives near Lytle, Texas, says the anniversary of the attack reminds him that he and the other survivors are lucky they got off their ships.
Around 20 survivors of the bombing gathered Thursday at Pearl Harbor to remember fellow servicemen killed in the early morning raid 76 years ago.
Meyer was a fireman first class on Dec. 7, 1941, when a torpedo hit the port side of the Utah.
He says he's still alive because he happened to be on the starboard side.
The 18-year-old fireman first class later served in the battles at Attu, Kiska, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
He witnessed Japan's surrender in 1945 from the deck of the USS Detroit in Tokyo Bay.
He says he thinks about his shipmates and how they were killed.
He says it reminds him that they were lucky to get off the ship "and we've made a good country for them."
More than 2,300 servicemen were killed in the attack carried out by Japanese airplanes.
Nearly half of those killed were on the USS Arizona battleship, which exploded and sank after being bombed.