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USS Arizona Survivors take special flight to mark 76th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack

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HONOLULU -

As Lauren Bruner looked out the helicopter window at the USS Arizona Memorial, it was a salute to his shipmates.

"It's good to see old friends again," said Bruner. 

Bruner is one of two USS Arizona survivors who went on a special tour with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Wednesday afternoon.  

"It brought back a lot of memories," said Donald Stratton, another USS Arizona survivor. 

It was Donald Stratton's first time flying over memorial.

"I always say that the heroes are still out there," said Stratton. 

More than 2,400 people died during the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941, nearly 1,177 of them were on board USS Arizona. 

"It's very emotional for the survivors to come and see it from above," said Kristi Hickey, a pilot for Blue Hawaiian and retired US Army veteran. 

As survivors and their families mark the 76th anniversary of the attack, they are also paying special tribute to a man they owe their lives to. 

"When he (Bruner) found out that Joe George was going to get a Bronze Star with Valor on the USS Arizona Memorial on December 7, he said 'I'm going,'" said Ed Hoschen, Bruner's best friend and caregiver.  

Joe George's daughter, Joe Ann Taylor, will accept the bronze star on his behalf. 

"My father was a very heroic person on that day and did the right thing," said Taylor 

George helped save Stratton, Brunner, and four others.

"These men after the explosion, Joe heard six of them up on the platform screaming for help, and after four or five throws he was able to throw them a line which they used to pull a rescue line," said Hoschen.  

As Stratton and Bruner prepare to stand by Taylor at Thursday's ceremony, they are keeping the story of Pearl Harbor alive for the next generation. 

"Never forget, never forget," said Bruner.   
 

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