US & Canada

Pearl Harbor anniversary: Survivor, 104, honours the dead

Ray Chavez, 104, the oldest known survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack, ringing the Freedom Bell during the Freedom Bell Opening Ceremony and Bell Ringing at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum at Pearl Harbor (06 December 2016) Image copyright EPA
Image caption Ray Chavez says he is returning to Pearl Harbor to honour those who died

One of the oldest survivors of the Japanese attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor is due to return to Hawaii on Wednesday to mark the 75th anniversary of the attack.

Ray Chavez, 104, says that he is doing so to honour the dead.

Mr Chavez will join other survivors to commemorate the attack, which killed more than 2,300 people and resulted in the US entering World War Two.

A moment of silence will be held at 07:55 local time at Pearl Harbor.

That is the time when the aerial attack on the base began on 7 December 1941.

Mr Chavez - the oldest known survivor - says he is returning because it is important to honour the sacrifices made by those who died.

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"I'm honouring them, not myself," he said.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor killed more than 2,300 service people

Mr Chavez had just completed a minesweeping mission when the assault began and was woken in the middle of the night by his wife to be informed that it was happening.

His daughter Kathleen told that her father is in good health and eager to go to Hawaii for the anniversary.

"For many years, he couldn't return, because he couldn't bear it. He never talked about that day," she said.

"But now, he is ready. And now he's so proud to have survived this long and to tell his story so that people don't forget about Pearl Harbor."

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