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Pearl Harbor veteran to be interred on his sunken ship

Just before 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning 78 years ago, Lauren Bruner was preparing for church services and a date that would follow with a girl he’d met outside his Navy base.

The 21-year-old sailor was stationed as a fire controlman aboard the U.S. battleship USS Arizona, overseeing the vessel’s .50-caliber guns.

Then alarms rang out. A Japanese plane had bombed the ship in a surprise attack.

It took only nine minutes for the Arizona to sink after the first bomb hit. Bruner was struck by gunfire while trying to flee the inferno that consumed the ship, the second-to-last man to escape the explosion that killed 1,177, including his best friend; 335 survived.

More than 70% of Bruner’s body was burned. He was hospitalized for weeks.

Now, nearly eight decades after that fateful day, Bruner’s ashes will be delivered to the sea that cradled his fallen comrades, stored in an urn inside the battleship’s wreckage.

Bruner, who died in his sleep Sept. 10 at age 98, will be the 44th and final crew member to be interred at the site, a decision he made nearly 30 years ago. The last three surviving members of the Arizona’s crew have all chosen to be laid to rest with their families.

A moment of silence will be observed at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time on Saturday (9:55 PST), the exact moment the bombings began so many years ago, followed by an annual public ceremony at Pearl Harbor to remember those killed in the attack.

Lou Conter, 98, one of the last three surviving crew members, will be at the interment, coordinated by the U.S. Navy and the National Park Service and attended by about 160 loved ones of Bruner.

In Colorado Springs, Colo., fellow survivors Donald Stratton, 97, and Ken Potts, 98, will watch a livestream of the event alongside the …read more

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