WATCH: Public invited to service for Donald Stratton, encouraged to wear red, white and blue Hawaiian shirts

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - CLICK HERE TO WATCH

A local Pearl Harbor survivor died in his sleep Saturday at the age of 97.

Donald Stratton's family said in a post on his Facebook page that he was surrounded by love to the end, passing away peacefully with his wife of 69 years and his son beside him.

The public is invited to a memorial service for Stratton scheduled for Feb. 29 at 10 a.m. The service will be held at the Rocky Mountain Calvary Chapel at 4285 N. Academy Boulevard. Attendees are encouraged to wear Hawaiian shirts that are red, white and blue.

Parking is expected to be limited, so the Pikes Peak Heroes Legacy Committee recommends attendees park at the east end lot of Doherty High School at 4515 Barnes Road. Busses will transport riders to the Chapel every ten minutes.

The procession route schedule (approximate and could change):
Route and Approximate Timeline for Dignified Honors Procession:
12:15 p – 12:30 p Depart: Rocky Mountain Calvary, 4285 N Academy Blvd., Colorado Springs
12:25 p – 12:40 p Academy Blvd onto Austin Bluffs Pkwy
Austin Bluffs Pkwy onto I-25 NB at Garden of the Gods Rd.
12:30 p – 12:45 p NB I-25 at Monument Hill
12:40 p – 12:55 p NB I-25 at Tomah Rd
12:45 p – 1:00 p NB I-25 at Castle Pines
12:55 p – 1:10 p NB I-25 at 470
1:00 p – 1:15 p NB I-25 onto NB 225
1:10 p – 1:25 p NB 225 onto EB I-70
1:20 p – 1:35 p EB I-70 at Watkins
1:25 p – 1:40 p EB I-70 at Bennett
1:30 p - 1:45 p EB I-70 at Strasburg
1:35 p - 1:50 p EB I-70 at Byers
1:45 p - 2:00 p EB I-70 at Deer Trail
1:55 p - 2:10 p EB I-70 at Agate
2:10 p - 2:25 p EB I-70 at Limon
20 minute stop for gas/break, Flying J 2495 Williams Ave Limon 80828
2:35 p - 2:50 p EB I-70 at Genoa
2:45 p - 3:00 p EB I-70 at Arriba
2:55 p - 3:10 p EB I-70 at Siebert
3:05 p - 3:20 p EB I-70 at Stratton
3:20 p - 3:35 p EB I-70 at Burlington
3:30 p –3:45 p EB I-70 at Colorado/Kansas State Line
Time changes to Central Time
5:00 p – 5:15 p EB I-70 at Brewster
5:15 p – 5:30 p EB I-70 at Highway 216 (Grinnell)
5:40 p – 5:55 p EB I-70 at Quinter
6:00 p – 6:15 p EB I-70 at Wakeeney
20 minute stop for gas/break, Wakeeney Travel Plaza 24-7 Store 745 S 1st St Wakeeney KS 67672
6:40 p – 6:55 p EB I-70 at Ellis
6:50 p – 7:05 p EB I-70 onto NB 183
7:00 p – 7:15 p NB 183 at Buckeye
7:15 p – 7:30 p NB 183 at Plainville
7:30 p – 7:45 p NB 183 at Highway 24
7:50 p – 8:05 p NB 183 onto EB Highway 36 (Philipsburg)
8:20 p – 8:35 p EB 36 at Smith Center
8:30 p – 8:45 p EB 36 onto NB 281
8:45 p – 9:00 p NB 281 at Kansas/Nebraska State Line
8:55 p – 9:05 p NB 281 onto WB 4th Ave to:
Williams Funeral Home, 241 W Fourth Ave, Red Cloud, Nebraska


"We are profoundly sad to say that last night, February 15, Donald passed away peacefully in his sleep surrounded by his wife of nearly 70 years, Velma, and his son Randy. One of Donald's final wishes was that people remember Pearl Harbor and the men aboard the USS Arizona. Share their story and never forget those who gave all for our great country." the post read.

Stratton was just 19 years old on Dec. 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked the U.S. Pacific fleet. The USS Arizona, where Stratton was stationed as a seaman first class, took a direct hit with a bomb detonating in an ammunition storage area directly below Stratton’s battle station. Stratton managed to pull himself through the flames to safety, suffering burns to more than two-thirds of his body.

Among many other accomplishments in his long life, Stratton also became a New York Times bestselling author with his book "All the Gallant Men."

U.S. Sen. Cory Garner released a statement Sunday on Stratton's passing.

"Jaime and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Donald Stratton and send our prayers to his family members and loved ones during this time. The first time I met Donald Stratton, he told me, ‘Everyone has to be somewhere.’ Today we know he has joined his fallen shipmates from the USS Arizona in heaven. Donald Stratton spent his life making sure the man who saved his life and others aboard the burning USS Arizona, Joe George, was recognized posthumously for his heroism. Veterans like Donald Stratton are the best this country has to offer and I thank God every day for Americans like them. May God bless this hero, his family, and all who have and continue to serve our country.”

Stratton is survived by his wife, four children, and 13 grandchildren.