1991: 50th Anniversary at Pearl Harbor

Dec. 7, 1991: Part 1 of memorial service at Pearl Harbor.
8:24 | 12/07/11

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Transcript for 1991: 50th Anniversary at Pearl Harbor
This is an ABC news special. Pearl Harbor. Not -- harbors so much -- the estuary of Hawaii's pearl river split by Ford island out there in the distance. Peaceful today. In part a national monument. Imagine that fifty years ago today the -- the Pacific Ocean battle might of the US may be an anchor. 7:55. AM in Hawaii. 12:55. PM in the eastern United States. Waves of Japanese fighters torpedo planes and dive bombers producing a mighty armada two incidents. Pearl Harbor that. Pearl Harbor today. Today the fiftieth anniversary of the date. That will live in them. Pearl Harbor plus fifty. Two hours to change the world. Now reporting from ABC news world headquarters. -- -- And a very good afternoon to you on the East Coast for the rest of the country good morning so the story goes. Lieutenant commander Logan Ramsey was at the Ford island naval air stations command center. When he heard a plane dive low overhead. If that man's number he told the duty officer I want to reporting -- for about sixteen violations when suddenly. The base was rocked -- explosions. And reminding shouted it's the Japanese. Ramsey then radioed a message air -- Pearl Harbor this is no drill. And that message marked not only the beginning of the war but the beginning of a new era. And so fifty years later America. Remembers Pearl Harbor. Just fifteen minutes ago President Bush visited of the national cemetery of the Pacific. At an area called the punch bowl just a short distance from downtown Honolulu and he were called. The moment when he said the Pacific Ocean erupted in a storm of fire and -- blood. In just a few minutes at the moment the attack began the president will take part in a ceremony. At the Arizona memorial. And battleship which is also the grave site for most of the 11100 men who died when it was hit. During this hour we will experience. That Japanese attack again with the help of David Brinkley and joining us for our special report Stephen -- Who survived the attack on the battleship Oklahoma. Correspondent Ken Kashiwahara who has been at Pearl Harbor all week long and ABC news military consultant retired marine general. Bernard -- In Hawaii a beautiful morning I am told very much like that morning in December of 1941. When the attack began. Just a few moments from now the planes would have been lifting off there -- -- -- shot. Of the harbor itself which is still very much a working naval harbor and the memorial which stands as the heart of the harbor. And the most poignant reminder of what happened it is the Arizona memorial it's it's a straddle. The battleship Arizona -- 1177. People died. That attack actually began about 7:40 in the morning as the planes lifted off moving toward Pearl Harbor it was to be a complete surprise what was it like. Correspondent David Brinkley tells us in this report. 50 years ago this morning most of the sailors and pilots stationed in Pearl Harbor were just waking up. Having breakfast in the galleys and the missiles are beginning their morning duties when they heard a load roaring sound. A few seconds later they saw a Japanese planes slashing through the satellite. The morning of December 7 the main targets of the Japanese attack plan are lined up at anchor. The battleships in Nevada. Arizona West Virginia. Tennessee Oklahoma Maryland and a battle force flagship California. Must've been -- 745715. We -- -- -- -- coming and there are coming in from all right. We thought there's going to be a regular drill that we normally have. And nobody got too excited about it until we saw these -- start forming around and then the torpedo planes went on the mountain. They -- coming right down to. We don't the channel. There aren't any right for the battleships. Didn't take long for us to -- them. Circle -- -- so we knew we were under. -- -- -- We saw this bomb come down and there was about seven. Sailors -- there on the -- myself and captain Daniel. And this bomb come down and we look better reason -- -- gonna hit us and we all here today. And about that time that tremendous explosion -- When we picked ourselves up we looked at. Towards you Arizona. She was sitting on the bottom -- just. Qualifier looked like about three or 400 -- I am. It lasted two hours. Two hours that would change the world forever. 2403. Americans there. 1177. Of them in -- in the sunken battleship Arizona. Including all of this brilliant maneuver. The Japanese had lost 120 and and men. And as night fell over the Hawaiian Islands Americans would be unified in a way that they might never quite be again. It was to be recorded as one of the worst defeat in American military history but it was also to be as you heard David -- say. That moment which would pull the United States people together to face not only the Japanese but also the Germans when Germany made the mistake of declaring war on the United States as well. Among those people. Who had to go through that experience who were shocked and horrified after he was having breakfast was a young Seaman who was assigned to the battleship Oklahoma he was Stephen Young. Assigned to gunnery do it doctor duty and turret number four. The Oklahoma was hit by five torpedoes sank. In just eight minutes and this is Stephen Young today who has been kind enough to share this morning -- this mr. young. What was at 7:40 in the morning -- -- what were you doing. I just finished. Practice. In the second division in the fourth division living compartment. Below that. About 750 the attack quarter was was given do you remember precisely what happened when the Oklahoma was hit. Yes. We were called to -- the -- Battery. We were called the general quarters. I ran forward quickly. And at that time we were hit by the first -- -- go. Continued on to the -- station that I was excited to below deck into the -- it handling room. Down to as we've hit with a second the -- the lights went out -- good to -- lights. Went on the into the outskirts. And tried to me -- -- devastation you upload or -- the determined. That the division officer on the shelled -- who applauded all the scene Linden petty officer who stayed below. And he -- then went back up with a and left. Back to decide on what happened was that you were in -- for a period of time inside. The Oklahoma for 25 long now. Yes that is correct the ship capsized the issue is had little of no are no water tight integrity. She -- -- were caught in the handling room -- in the trunk space lucky bag but told 25 hours before the rescue. Was. Successfully completed and our -- Remarkable for user and I am very kind did you hear the story.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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