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OGDEN — Early this morning, veterans and current Navy leaders met on a beautiful spot on the Pacific Ocean to remember an ugly day. Hawaii's Air National Guard flew in a "missing man" formation and silence started the memorial to Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor 71 years ago, which killed more than two thousand service members and civilians and pulled the United States into World War II.
In Utah, the American flag flew at half-staff in front of the Capitol Building and in Ogden, there was a ceremony honoring several Utah Pearl Harbor survivors.
"These guys who are the Pearl Harbor survivors...they had to go on and fight and win the war. So they made extra, extra sacrifices on top," said retired Rear Adm. Jeremy Taylor.
These guys who are the Pearl Harbor survivors...they had to go on and fight and win the war. So they made extra, extra sacrifices on top.
–retired Rear Adm. Jeremy Taylor
Utah Pearl Harbor survivors like Marion Kesler, who served on the USS Hulbert, Glen Allgood, who was on a supply, and Victor Bradley, who was on the USS Mugford, all attended the ceremony today. Mugford chuckles when he says he was in the shower when the bombs hit.
"The alarm went off, and we grabbed what clothes we could and I had to run half the length of the ship to get to my battle station," Bradley said.
His battle station was below the water line, so he didn't see or hear much until later that day. His ship wasn't hit, and it left Pearl Harbor a few hours after the attack.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Allgood worked on a supply ship, which also escaped damage.
"Just got on a lucky ship. They didn't want to bother with our ship," said Allgood. "Our was a supply ship. They wanted the battleships and that."
Allgood, Bradley and Kesler are 3 of just a handful of Pearl Harbor survivors in Utah. They and others around the country are in their 80's and 90's now. With hundreds of World War II veterans passing away each day, ceremonies like this take on even greater meaning.
"We don't want to let a year or two go by, as long as there are any Pearl Harbor survivors, that we don't recognize them and their families for their great service," said Terry Schow, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Veteran's Affairs.
For years, Allgood kept what he saw that day inside. Seeing the bombs kill so many people was tough.
"It just done something to me and I couldn't talk about it for years," Allgood said.
But he attends events like this now, and shares some of his experiences because he says that awful day 71 years ago must be remembered.
"This day is for those who didn't make it," Taylor said. "So we are here to honor those who perished in this infamous attack on our force at Pearl Harbor," Taylor said.