JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Pearl Harbor Day is always one of the most memorable days for USS De Wert Commander Joseph Thomas.
"It kind of brings you to tears just to be able to talk to them and see the sacrifices they made and hear their stories, the people who were actually there on December 7, 1941."
This morning, three survivors of the Pearl Harbor
attack, now in their eighties and nineties, were honored aboard the USS De Wert in Mayport. The annual ceremony has become a tradition for the past 46 years.
"Shows our gratitude of what the greatest generation has done for the Navy and how it has shaped America as we are today" said Commander Thomas.
During the ceremony, the survivors and their families tossed flowers into the ocean after the names of those who lost their lives, 71 years ago today, were read aloud.
More than 2,000 sailors and soldiers died and 1,000 more were injured in the attack that thrust the United States into World War II. But one thing the barrage of bombs could not destroy, was the unity of those who lived through it.
"We haven't forgotten and we're not going to" said US Marine JJ Lavoie.