USS Arizona Survivors Honor Shipmates at Pearl Harbor
PEARL HARBOR, Dec. 4, 2008 -- Six former crew members of the battleship USS Arizona (BB-39), including five survivors of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, visited the USS Arizona Memorial and the Punchbowl National Cemetery Dec. 2.
The Sailors visited the historic sites to honor fallen service members as part of the USS Arizona Reunion Association's annual meeting, taking place this year on Oahu.
As they arrived at the Arizona Memorial Visitor Center (AMVC), survivors were greeted by an honor cordon of Sailors and Marines and a performance by the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band.
"It was great to be honored by that line of Sailors and Marines," said 88-year-old Lauren Bruner, a fireman third class at the time of the attack. "By doing that, they showed a great deal of respect for us."
The former Arizona Sailors and members of the reunion association paid tribute to their fellow crew members as they toured the USS Arizona Memorial.
"Many gave their life for the country and what we believe in and to honor them is no greater respect than that," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Matthew Tutt, assigned to Naval Station Pearl Harbor. "The survivors were here when the attack took place and they stepped up out of the devastation to help save Pearl Harbor."
After departing the Arizona, the visiting Sailors honored their fallen shipmates during a wreath-laying ceremony, including Taps and a 21-gun salute.
"It's a big honor for me," said 90-year-old Glenn Lane, a radioman third class at the time of the attack. "I have many friends on the shrine wall who are still aboard the ship and the least I can do for them is to pay my respects."
"I lost a lot of buddies on that ship," said Bruner. "The last time I was here was in 1991. I'm 88 now and I have to honor them as much as I can while I can."
On Dec. 7, the USS Arizona Reunion Association will hold a ceremony at the AMVC followed by a floral tribute and the internment of Arizona Sailor Seaman 1st Class Charles Gueria.
The USS Arizona Reunion Association was organized on Dec. 4, 1976 in Tucson, Arizona by 21 shipmates who served aboard the ship at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
(Report by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael A. Lantron, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs.)
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