PEARL HARBOR (HawaiiNewsNow) - A national treasure celebrated a major milestone Friday -- his 94th birthday.
Everett Hyland is a Pearl Harbor survivor, one of the few still alive from that day.
At the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center on Friday, with his wife Miyoko by his side, he blew out his candles and soaked it all in.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Hyland was an 18-year-old on the drydocked battleship Pennsylvania when a bomb nearly killed him.
Fifty years later, Hyland met the pilot of the bomber. He also met his future wife, Miyoki, who was their translator.
When he thinks back on his life, he describes it as "colorful."
And for the last two decades, this living piece of history has volunteered at the Peal Harbor Visitor Center, thriving on meeting visitors.
"I'm here every Sunday. I've been out here volunteering for 24 years now. I used to come several days a week, but now I get out on Sundays only," he said.
Nathan Reilly, a first time visitor to the center, shared in Hyland's birthday celebration Friday.
"Just to be here and see in person and witness it and see people that were a part of it is just surreal." Reilly said.
Daniel Martinez, chief historian of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, said Hyland is an invaluable part of the park.
"Every year, they can celebrate their birthday with these visitors. He's 94, comes every Sunday to sign. We're so glad to have him," Martinez said.
And when Hyland is asked how he made it to his 94th birthday, he has this simple advice: "Stay alive ... and have a good wife."