By : Leland Kim
HONOLULU (KHNL) - As a grateful nation honors Pearl Harbor survivors, one local woman has waited more than six decades to thank them in person. It's a moment of a lifetime for Elsie Horsley.
It's a moment 65 years in the making.
Elsie Horsley was a 10-year-old growing up in Moiliili when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Today is her first chance to thank Pearl Harbor survivors.
"I feel hurt because they might not be here next year, and I'm glad to meet them today," Mrs. Horsley said.
For survivors, the outpouring of aloha spirit has made this week even more special.
"Everybody has been so kind and friendly," said George Hutton, a Pearl Harbor survivor who was on the USS Nevada. "She's a perfect example of the people here."
"I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the hospitality and the courtesy that's been shown," said Joseph Goffeney, a Pearl Harbor survivor who was on the USS Case.
And Mrs. Horsley experiences a flood of emotions.
"I can't ... There's no words to express it, dear," she said. "It's just overwhelming."
The U.S. military lost more than 2,300 that fateful day. Those who are here today never forgot their fallen brothers.
"They were a part of it," said Hutton. "They were a part of the victory at the end."
"I hope you're resting in peace," said Goffeney. "I guess that's what I'd say. And I'm sure they are."
Mrs. Horsley always remembered the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"Most of them gave all their lives to protect us and I really want to thank them with all my heart," she said.
And survivors are grateful to a nation that recognizes their sacrifices.
"People haven't forgotten and we appreciate it," said Goffeney.
"Thank you for reception," said Hutton. "Thank you very much."