Friday, November 16, 2001

Conference offers closer
look at attack on Pearl Harbor

By Christine Donnelly

The organizers of a conference marking the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor hope more Hawaii residents seize a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to tour attack sites and hear firsthand from military and civilian survivors about an event that changed history.

The conference, "A Day to Remember, a Time Not Forgotten," runs Dec. 1-5 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and costs $249 for the public.

Military personnel, whether active duty, retired or in the Reserves, guests of Pearl Harbor military survivors, and students and teachers pay $149. Pearl Harbor military survivors themselves are invited to attend the general conference sessions for free.

To register, call 422-2771, ext. 110, or check out the Web site at

The cost includes admission to more than 20 question-and-answer discussion sessions with historians, U.S. military and Hawaii civilian survivors, and Japanese aviators who carried out the Dec. 7, 1941, surprise attack that plunged the United States into World War II. Also included is a bus tour of attack sites on Oahu.

The conference sessions, which each last an hour or less, range from the personal stories of military and civilian survivors to reviewing the meaning and lessons of Pearl Harbor in the 21st century.

About 300 people have registered to attend, with the lower-than-expected turnout likely due to the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States, said Daniel Martinez, National Park Service historian at the USS Arizona Memorial.

Capacity for the event is about 1,000 people.

"Economically, everybody has been affected by Sept. 11, especially tourism," he said.

"Right now our big push is to get as many local people to attend as possible. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Martinez especially hopes teachers and older students will attend.

"As these veterans age, the opportunities to hear firsthand what happened that day lessen every year."

Two free events are open to the public: the premiere of the documentary "Death of the USS Arizona" on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m., and the premiere of the documentary "Save the Arizona!" on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m.

The event is aimed at adults and students middle school-age and older, and admission is first-come, first-served.

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