Remembering Pearl Harbor

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Retired Navy master chief yeoman Jim Taylor talks about sending off survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor to spend eternity with their shipmates, who perished 70 years ago Wednesday. “I think the reason that they want their ashes scattered in the harbor, in Pearl Harbor in particular, is because their shipmates, their brothers-in-arms, were killed that day,” says the Pearl Harbor Survivor Association’s burial-at-sea coordinator. His only remuneration “is love,” he says. “The ocean does draw people – it’s like family. And they want to be with family when they go.”

This will be the final call for the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, the New York Times notes. It began in 1958 with 28,000 members, all of whom were in the military and on the island of Oahu, home to Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941. Membership is only 10% of that number now. About 7,000 showed up for the 50th anniversary 20 years ago; only 125 are expected to show up for Wednesday’s ceremony.

See a LIFE photographer’s images from Pearl Harbor here