In a ceremony that may be among the last of its kind, the remains of two USS Arizona sailors who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago were interred aboard the sunken battleship.
Every day, visitors to the Arizona Memorial look upon the names of the sailors and Marines who lost their lives in the attack. There are also the names of 41 survivors who are interred on the ship. And on Wednesday, the names of John Anderson and Clarendon Hetrick were added to the list.
Anderson, who died in November of last year at the age of 98, was a Seaman, First Class, aboard the Arizona when the attack happened. Hetrick, who died in April at 92, was a Seaman, First Class.
In solemn ceremonies, both men were honored as they rejoined their shipmates.
"Petty officers Hetrick and Anderson, shore leave is cancelled. Report back to your appointed place of duty and assume the watch on the USS Arizona," said Rear Adm. John Fuller, U.S. Navy Region Commander, as he concluded his remarks during the ceremony.
Anderson had a twin brother, Jake, who was also aboard the Arizona, but died in the attack.
"And when he passed away, it as one of the first things that we said, that he would be joining Jake," said Anderson's wife of 47 years, Karolyn. "And it gives us comfort, knowing that he is with Jake."
Hetrick always had planned to rejoin his brothers in arms. During the ceremony, flags were presented to the families of the men. Hetrick's son, Bob, held on tightly to the flag that was presented to him, even hours after the ceremony.
"I have the flag to remember my dad, always," he said. "This is a part of him that will live on."
Forty-one other survivors have had their ashes interred aboard the sunken battleship, but this as the first ceremony where two interments happened at the same time.
Navy divers slowly took the gray urn with Anderson's ashes from the dock toward the ship, and then sank slowly below the surface. A few minutes later, the same solemn honor was performed as Hetrick's ashes went below.
On the Arizona Memorial, the names J.D. Anderson and C.R. Hetrick are carved into the memorial, to be seen and remembered for eternity.
"His name will be there forever, showing he's a hero," said Bob Hetrick.
"Seeing his name in the memorial -- it's a great tribute to him," said John Anderson Jr. "And it will be seen by a lot of people, forever now."
There are only five remaining Arizona survivors.
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