By msnbc.com staff and wire reports
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- Under calm skies 70 years to the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, about 120 survivors gathered Wednesday to mark the anniversary with ceremonies that began with a moment of silence for the 2,400 Americans who lost their lives.
And towards the end, it came with an announcement that seemed inevitable: The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association will disband on Dec. 31.
Association President William Muehleib cited the age and poor health of remaining members.
"It was time. Some of the requirements became a burden," Muehleib said after the ceremony.
The association has 2,700 members but there are an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 Pearl Harbor survivors. Local chapters will function as long as they have members and survivors can gather socially, but they will no longer have a formal, national group that organizes an annual trip for the anniversary.
My Dad was in WWII. He was a mecahnic in the Army Air Corps. He holds no ill will toward Japan. He has been over to Japan on business a couple of times and really enjoyed it. For awhile he tried to learn Japanese.It's a strange world we live in. On December 7, 1941, the American view of Japan was of anger and hate over the attack.
My Father served in the Pacific during WW II and he spoke of having to deal with the endless bombings from the Japanese Aircraft. In his words, "It was as if they were trying to sink the whole island we were on."
After the war he was sent into Japan with the Army of Occupation and his view of the people changed radically. Today, most of us would not even think of speaking ill of today's people of Japan.
All I can say is it was a different world back then and those who where there in the heat of action will not be forgotten.
While I was in Tokyo on business a couple of Augusts ago, I was fortunate enough to be asked if I'd like to tour the Yasukuni Shrine and Yushukan (War Museum) in Shinjuku Prefecture. It was an incredibly interesting and eye-opening experience, seeing World War Two from the Japanese point of view...Like here, I wonder how many of Japanese WWII veterans are still around.