As the 74th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack draws near, Lawrence Parry remembers the moment like it was just yesterday.
"Just terrible destruction,” he said. “Everything was blown up. They were burning everything up: Planes, cars, anything that got in the way, and they were recovering the airfields."
Emery Arsenault can also picture the attack almost clear as day.
"They went to Pearl Harbor, and a few minutes later big black clouds came over our position just like midnight,” Arsenault said. “We were in the foxhole for three days. After three days they called all clear."
Parry and Arsenault are just two of a dozen Pearl Harbor survivors, all in their 90s, to arrive in Honolulu ahead of Monday’s anniversary commemoration at Kilo Pier.
The Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort hosted a meet and greet Thursday afternoon, where the war heroes signed autographs and answered questions about the attack. Over the next few days, these veterans will be meeting with students and visiting historic sites like the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.
Then, on Monday, the survivors will attend a remembrance ceremony at Kilo Pier, which the public is also invited to attend. This year’s event will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Kennedy as the keynote speaker. It starts at 7:45 a.m.
The general public is asked to park at the Aloha Stadium with free ADA shuttle transportation from 6 to 7:15 a.m. and returning shuttles from 10 a.m. to noon.