It's been 65 years since one of our nation's most defining moments in history-- the attack on Pearl Harbor. More than 2,400 Americans were killed that day. The aging survivors have scattered all across the country, including a handful here in Southern Colorado who gathered Thursday, at the Air Force Academy Cemetery.
"Come December 7, everything comes back," said 88-year-old veteran Walter Himmelberg.
At 7:55 AM on that day in 1941, Himmelberg was about to earn the Purple Heart, as his comrades shot down a Japanese airplane. An hour earlier, Bill Browning was called to attention at the first sign of what was to come.
"They said, 'Get up! We need you on watch!'" Said Browning. "We just sank a Japanese submarine."
It was a day those men will never forget and one Retha Morris came to remember. Her husband Johnny survived Pearl Harbor, but passed away in 2005.
"Oh, I come in Johnny's honor!" Said Morris. "I also come for all of the others who were there and to honor those who are still serving now."
Like living history books, it's as if you can read their faces-- surprise and courage written on each page, now wrinkled and fragile but still proud, still vigilant.
"It's important to remember and be prepared, that's our motto in fact," said Browning. "'Remember Pearl Harbor, Keep America Proud'-- it still stands today."
Though in this city, Himmelberg says many men who coined the motto do not.
"There are only 3 or 4 of us left."
But they've kept their pledge of allegiance, proving even in small numbers, there is power.