HONOLULU (AP) - Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Don Long was alone on an anchored military seaplane in the middle of a bay across the island from Pearl Harbor when Japanese warplanes started striking Hawaii on December 7, 1941 - watching from afar as the bombs and bullets came closer, eventually reaching and destroying his solitary outpost.
The waves of attacking planes reached his military installation on Kaneohe Bay soon after Pearl Harbor was struck, and the young sailor saw buildings and planes start to explode all around him.
When the gunfire finally reached him, setting the aircraft ablaze, he was forced to jump into the water and swim through fire to safety.
Now, 77 years later, Long will remember that day in Napa, California, where the 97-year-old survivor will reflect on the anniversary and honor those who died.
Today's ceremony in Hawaii to honor the solemn occasion will mark the first time no survivors of the USS-Arizona will be present. In 2017, three of five living survivors were able to attend but this year health issues and doctors orders are preventing all of them from attending. They're all in their nineties.
Here in the east, Tryon Palace is holding a remembrance ceremony at the North Carolina History Center. The free event starts at 11am and is open to the public.
In Jacksonville, American Legion Post 146 is hosting an event at 11am. The post is located on Broadhurst Rd. in Jacksonville.