Hundreds of people attended a Pearl Harbor memorial and groundbreaking ceremony on Friday in Phoenix.
The hour-long ceremony — designed to both mark the day the Empire of Japan attacked the U.S. fleet in 1941 and the construction of a new monument — was attended by several survivors, people Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar should never be forgotten.
“You exemplify a sense of camaraderie and bravery that was greater than the world has ever known,” he told the veterans. “The fallen shipmates will forever be remembered for their uncommon courage that defined us when we needed it most: December 7.”
One of those survivors, Lambert Mars, was working as a Navy pharmacist when the attack occurred.
“I thought it was our people practicing, but it was the Japanese,” he said.
Mars said he spent hours after the attacks identifying bodies and still gets choked up when he visits Pearl Harbor, the place where his best friend was killed.
The groundbreaking of the new monument, scheduled to open Dec. 7, 2013, was presided over by Sec. of State Ken Bennett.
“This new monument will become and has been approved…as the new World War II memorial for the state of Arizona,” he said.
The monument will feature gun barrels from the U.S.S. Missouri and the U.S.S. Arizona.