Ceremonies Held To Remember Those Killed In 1941 Pearl Harbor Attack

Dec 7, 2019

Survivors and members of the public are gathering in Pearl Harbor Saturday to remember those killed when Japanese planes bombed the Hawaii naval base 78 years ago and launched the United States into World War II. The observance comes just three days after a deadly shooting that shocked the shipyard community.

Organizers plan for about a dozen survivors of the attack to attend the annual ceremony, the youngest of whom are now in their late 90s. More than 2,000 members of public are expected to be there.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor other military bases on Oahu were attacked by Japanese planes, plunging the United States into World War II.

Thirty aging veterans who survived the attack are participating in the observance, according to Joint Base Pearl-Harbor Hickam, including Lou Conter, one of three remaining USS Arizona survivors.

The ceremonies will take place under tight security following this week's shooting.

The Navy on Friday named Gabriel Antonio Romero, 22, from Texas, as the active-duty sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers at the shipyard's Dry Dock 2 and injured a third before killing himself. 

He was a machinist’s mate auxiliary fireman assigned to the USS Columbia submarine. Killed were Roldan Aguinaldo Agustin, 49, of ʻEwa Beach and Vincent J. Kapoi Jr., 30, of Honolulu.

Kapoi was a metals inspector apprentice at the shipyard, the Navy said, while Agustin worked as a shop planner.

Military officials said Friday that they hadn't found a motive yet. Romero faced disciplinary actions prior to the shooting, according to media reports.

Retired Army Col. Gregory Gross says that could have been something as simple as being late for work. He says taking Romero off watch duty on a submarine and removing his service weapons would be easy for an offense like assault. 

The attack occurred over a 23-second timespan in a packed area.

Correction: A previous version of his story misspelled Lou Conter's last name. HPR regrets the error.