NBC NEWS — 70 years ago tomorrow, the roar of Japanese dive-bombers cracked the silent, Sunday morning skies over Pearl Harbor in an attack that changed our nation's history.
"This wasn't a drill,” said Pearl Harbor survivor Mal Middlesworth. “I got to be standing there with a front row seat to one on one of the greatest spectacles in the 20th century."
Now, seven decades later, those who survived the day are returning to the harbor to remember it and the 2,400 killed in the attack.
Nearly 120 Pearl Harbor survivors are expected to attend Wednesday's remembrance ceremony, including John Tait.
"I feel I was very lucky being on the ship I was on, “satated Tait. “It was called the USS St. Louis… was called the ‘Lucky Lou’. The USS St. Louis was tied up to the dock. I know we're going to cruise the harbor, and I'd like to say, ‘You see that...that's my ship getting on her way.’"
Tait, and other survivors like him, understand firsthand the importance the Pearl Harbor attack had on our nation.
"Well, he who doesn't remember history is going to live it again,” said Middlesworth. “Our slogan for the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association is ‘Remember Pearl Harbor. Keep America alert.’"
It’s a day the country will remember, long after those who lived through it are gone.