NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Friday marks the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor where more than 2,000 American sailors were killed.
Those who died are being honored throughout the country, reports CBS2’s Cindy Hsu.
A wreath-laying at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on the West Side honored the 2,403 Americans killed on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked eight U.S. Navy battleships at Pearl Harbor. The surprise attack led to the United States entering World War II.
Armando “Chick” Galella is 97 years old now and is one of the few survivors still living. He was just 20 when he was stationed at Pearl Harbor.
“We had no weapons because they were locked up and my sergeant wouldn’t open up the supply room, because he didn’t get orders from his captain,” said Galella . “I said, ‘Are you off your mind? Don’t you see what’s happening here?’
“I wish people would understand that, I’m not a hero,” he said. “I’m a survivor of the war, most veterans will tell you that. I’m a survivor, all your heroes have white crosses, they’re your real heroes. Not me.”
Rev. James Blakely, another Pearl Harbor survivor, says it is more important than ever for the younger generations to learn about and honor the sacrifices so many have made.
“It was the saddest moment of my life,” he said.
There are also ceremonies underway in Hawaii at the USS Arizona. There are only a handful of survivors from that battleship who are still alive, and for the first time none of them are well enough to make it to the ceremony.
“The stories they tell from the former crew member side is where they actually bunked, what their roles were,” said Susan Marenoff-Zausner of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. “They share with our visitors exactly what they did. There’s nothing like living history.”