“I’m still surviving,” Pearl Harbor survivor recalls memories during ceremony in Oklahoma City

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OKLAHOMA CITY - It was a day that will forever live in infamy and, 77 years later, we pause to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In Oklahoma City on Friday morning, a group gathered at the U.S.S. Oklahoma anchor for a special ceremony to pay tribute to those who were there that day.

Survivor Navy Chief Storekeeper Ivan Stewart was there for the ceremony.

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Stewart had only been in the Navy for about a year. He was 19 and, even now he still remembers that day - seeing the plains flying overhead.

"And, I thought, 'Well, our pilots are out there flying, practicing.' I didn't know what a red dot on a plane meant," he said.

Stewart was knocked down and knocked out for a while. But, as soon as he came to - he started helping, pulling men out of the water.

The memories of horrific injuries and death Stewart witnessed that day are still affecting him today.

"I still break down down telling that story," he said. "How was it? I don't know. To this day, I don't know."

Like many other great survivors, Stewart went on to help America win the war. Not long ago - he went back to visit Pearl Harbor.

"Somebody asked me how it felt being back at that exact same spot, and I said 'Just as scary as it was when I first was blown down with it,'" he said.

The memories of the day that will live in infamy are still very much with Stewart all these years later.

"Somebody says, 'Oh, you're a Pearl Harbor survivor!' I say, 'Yeah, I'm still surviving.' That's the way I feel about it even, how it affects me, I'm still surviving," he said.

So many lives were lost or changed forever; those are lives we will never forget.

Also honored was survivor Clarence Gilbert, who was not able to attend, and Ed Vezey, the last survivor of the U.S.S. Oklahoma. He passed away a few  years ago.

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