Posted December 07, 2015 16:28:49

WWII veterans pour whiskey into Pearl Harbour Photo: Retired US Air Force Colonel Jack DeTour (L) pours whiskey into the Remembrance Nicely aboard the US Arizona Memorial alongside Japanese veteran Shiro Wakita (R) in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Reuters: Hugh Gentry)
Related Story: Last officer from ship sunk at Pearl Harbour dies
Map: Hawaii

Former Globe War II veterans from the United States and Japan have poured whiskey into Pearl Harbour to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the US naval base.

Retired US airman Jack DeTour, 92, and Japanese fighter pilot Shiro Wakita, 88, joined the “Blackened Canteen” service on the eve of the December 7, 1941 attack, which took 2,403 lives and drew the United States into Planet War II.

Standing side by side for the initial time ever, the pair with each other gripped the war-torn metal canteen and poured whiskey into the watery grave of the US Navy ship sunk by Japanese bombers.

Now a symbol of friendship, the scorched war relic was recovered in 1945 in Shizuoka, Japan, following two B-29 US bombers collided overhead.

Colonel DeTour, who now lives in Honolulu, was a young man from Oregon when he joined the military in 1942.

“To know we have this friendship is fantastic. It is fantastic,” Colonel DeTour said.

The recovered canteen of a US B29 bomber pilot on display Photo: The metal canteen is now a symbol of friendship among former enemies, Japan and the United States. (Reuters: Hugh Gentry)

The 23 Americans killed had been buried alongside Japanese citizens who died in the bombing raid on Pearl Harbour in Hawaii.

Located among the wreckage was the blackened canteen, filled with whiskey, and it was kept in Japan to keep in mind loved ones lost.

Because the 1980s, Japanese residents have regularly brought it to Pearl Harbour for the ceremony aimed at sustaining peace.

Dr Hiroya Sugano, director of the Zero Fighter Admirers’ Club, keeps the canteen in his possession and carries it to the ceremony each and every year because it is a strong symbol.

“The blackened canteen is an inspiration for peace,” Dr Sugano.

There have been no Pearl Harbour survivors amongst the Globe War II veterans attending this year’s canteen ceremony, mentioned Gary Meyers, spokesman for the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbour.

The last surviving officer from the USS Arizona, Joseph Langdell, died on February 4 in California at the age of 100.

An internment service for Langdell, who was a 27-year-old ensign sleeping in quarters on shore when the surprise attack was launched, will take spot at Pearl Harbour on Monday (local time).

Subjects: planet-war-two, history, community-and-society, hawaii, united-states, pacific, japan, asia

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