Hundreds gather on USS Yorktown to mark 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor

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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Amid the echoes of taps, the crackle of a rifle salute and a warning to be vigilant about future sneak attacks, more than 400 people gathered Wednesday on the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown to mark the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that plunged the United States into World War II.

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A veteran tosses a wreath into Charleston Harbor from USS Yorktown during the Pearl Harbor ceremony.  Bruce Smith/Associated Press
Bruce Smith/Associated Press
A veteran tosses a wreath into Charleston Harbor from USS Yorktown during the Pearl Harbor ceremony.

Dozens of veterans, including four survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack, gathered on the hangar deck of the retired carrier that dates to the conflict. The Yorktown was commissioned in 1943 and was named for a carrier that sank during the Battle of Midway.

During the ceremonies, a ship’s bell was rung 25 times for the men from South Carolina who died during the attack in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941. Wreaths were also tossed into the waters of Charleston Harbor in remembrance.

Retired Navy Rear Adm. Robert Beasal warned that the nation must remain vigilant for future attacks.

He said that China has been flexing its military might and “it’s no secret that the Chinese military forces are probing our public and private computer networks every day,” including those of NASA and the Department of State.

“It does not take much imagination to think that a future Pearl Harbor might be a lightning-fast cyber-attack which immediately cripples the nation’s economy as well as our armed forces,” he warned. Such an attack, he said “could be completely devastating and nation-ending.”

VETERANS GATHER AT SITE OF ATTACK

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — Veterans from Pearl Harbor observed the 70th anniversary of the attack Wednesday with a solemn ceremony at the site of the Japanese bombing, as an aging and dwindling group of survivors announced that it would disband at the end of the month.

“It was time. Some of the requirements became a burden,” said William Muehleib, the president of the Pearl Harbors Survivors Association. He also cited poor health among the group’s 2,700 members, adding that most of the survivors have realized there are other things they’d like to do at their age.

Survivors will be invited to attend future ceremonies on their own.

About 3,000 people, including Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and military leaders, attended this year’s anniversary at a site overlooking the sunken USS Arizona and the white memorial that straddles the battleship.

Muehleib said there are an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 Pearl Harbor survivors.

– Associated Press


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