Another picture-perfect morning was shaping up that Sunday on Oahu, Hawaii, as Army Staff Sgt. George Frazier stepped across the grassy quadrangle outside the Schofield Barracks. The sky was clear and bright, just an occasional fluffy cloud drifting by. The temperature hovered around 70.
Frazier had just finished breakfast when he was startled shortly after 7:30 a.m. by gunfire and explosions at the adjacent Wheeler Army Airfield. Massive blasts followed at nearby Pearl Harbor.
The turquoise sky was suddenly swarming with Japanese Zero fighters and dive-bombers, circling like angry bees overhead, then dropping so low that the pilots could be seen clearly in their cockpits.
"I thought, 'What the hell are they doing here? This is a sneak attack!' " said Frazier, 93, of Warminster. "I wanted to fight back so I picked up a gun and started firing; I don't know if I hit anything, but it gave me some satisfaction."
By the end of the day, Frazier would be numbered with the 1,178 wounded, including members of the Navy, Army, and Marines, as well as civilians. A medic sitting next to him in an ammunition-laden truck was shot through the neck and counted among the 2,403 killed.
Nineteen ships - including eight battleships and three cruisers - were sunk or severely damaged; 169 aircraft were destroyed, 159 others were damaged. The Japanese lost 29 planes and five midget submarines.
Dec. 7, 1941 - the date that President Franklin D. Roosevelt said would "live in infamy" - was a tragic time Frazier didn't speak much about until late in life when he joined the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, which disbanded in 2011 due to the age and ill health of its then 2,700 members.
Frazier was the president of the association's local group, Liberty Bell Chapter #1, which had more than 160 members at its height. Just a handful of them in their 90s remain.
"Sixteen million Americans served in World War II," said Gordon H. "Nick" Mueller, president and CEO of the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. "Today that number is less than a million. Every time we lose a veteran, it's like losing a library. All of those memories and firsthand experiences are gone."
The legacy of the men and women who witnessed the Japanese assault is carried on by the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, a national group with chapters across the country.
Survivors "should be remembered for their service," said Frazier's granddaughter, Mary Ann Hartner of Warminster, a member of the group. "We don't know how much longer we will have them."
The veterans are also recalled each year by the Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Association, the only organization of its kind in Pennsylvania, which plans a memorial service at 11:30 a.m. Monday at the Faith of Our Fathers Chapel at the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.
The group's president, Pearl Harbor survivor Alex Horanzy, now 93, of Philadelphia's Holmesburg section, was an Army private in the 24th Infantry Division in 1941 and had just finished a week of combat training on the northern end of Oahu.
He slipped into bed at the Schofield Barracks at 2 a.m. Dec. 7 and was rousted from sleep by concussive blasts and machine gunfire - the first wave of the attack. "They were like a bunch of hornets," he said. "It was scary."
Scores of P-36 Hawk and P-40 Warhawk aircraft were sitting ducks, parked outside at Wheeler Army Airfield, instead of in camouflaged revetments where they would have been less vulnerable.
At Pearl Harbor, the Navy was equally unprepared. Many sailors wondered at first if the planes were part of an exercise - until bombs took their toll. They saw fire-engulfed waters and smelled burning oil and flesh.
"The whole sky was black," Horanzy said. "You could see columns of smoke." The soldiers at Schofield Barracks "were the first to fight back."
When it seemed safe, Horanzy went to investigate the wreckage of an enemy plane brought down near the barracks. The pilot was gone but had left a Japanese flag behind in the wreckage.
"I still have it with me today," said the Philadelphia man, who lost a brother during fighting at Okinawa and had three other brothers in the military - two in the Navy during World War II and one in the Army during the Korean War.
Soldiers such as Horanzy and Frazier were ordered to load trucks to supply bunkers on the north shore of Oahu, where the military leaders expected an invasion.
By the time the second wave of Japanese warplanes struck, Frazier was driving one of about 40 trucks in a convoy that was crossing a bridge when it was strafed.
"Other trucks began scattering left and right; I was the second to the last one and wanted to get off the bridge, but we didn't make it," he said. "I saw blood squirting out of the neck of the medic sitting next to me, and I got hit in the left leg."
Rescuers "had to cut the steering wheel to get me out because it was jammed against my ribs," he said.
Frazier recovered in California, was discharged, joined the Navy's Seabees and later served at Saipan, Iwo Jima, and the southern part of the main island of Japan.
On the other side of Oahu, Navy Seaman Second Class Benjamin Lichtman was wrapping up his weekend leave, relaxing on a beach, swimming, and playing cards. His time off ended abruptly.
Lichtman was called back to Pearl Harbor where his battleship, the USS West Virginia, had been hit by seven torpedoes and sunk, taking many sailors with it. Some who were trapped aboard the ship died hours after the attack.
"My ship was burning," said Lichtman, now 93, of Marlton. "With all the smoke, I couldn't see half of it."
"I lost several I was close to," said Lichtman, a forward lookout normally assigned to the crow's nest where he would have been eye to eye with Japanese pilots. "My ship burned until the next day."
In the harbor, rescuers in boats were collecting survivors and bodies, said Lichtman, who was given a gun and bandolier of ammunition and ordered to patrol nearby oil storage tanks that were part of the Pearl Harbor facility.
He'd later serve on a heavy cruiser, the Salt Lake City. He went to Guadalcanal in 1942, received five battle stars, and eventually was assigned to military blimps.
After the war, Lichtman remained in the Navy, leaving as a petty officer after 20 years. He married, had three children, and was working as a safety engineer for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration when he retired in 1987. He still shares the story of what happened 74 years ago at schools and churches.
Horanzy married a childhood sweetheart in 1945 and had two daughters and a son. He and worked as a machinist and retired as a quality assurance specialist at the now-defunct Frankford Arsenal. Last month, he was named the 2015 Dickies American Hero of the Year and given $25,000 by the Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Co., a global workwear business.
Frazier married a Germantown woman, had a daughter and worked for a moving-van company until his retirement in 1994.
"We want to be peaceful, but unfortunately evil exists as we saw with the horrible [terrorist attack] that happened in Paris," said Frazier's granddaughter, Mary Ann Hartner. "So we must be vigilant."
The history of what happened at Pearl Harbor should be kept alive, the veterans said.
"I was born in 1922 and didn't join the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association until 1995," said Horanzy, who grew up in Manayunk. "I never talked about the war; I didn't want to think about it.
"I locked up everything [war memorabilia] in a foot locker in the basement," he said. "But you never forget."