For nearly 75 years, a survivor refused to return to Pearl Harbor while he was alive. He told his family that the memories were too painful, but now he's making one final visit.
Raymond Haerry was just 19 years old when the bombs started falling on December 7, 1941. The young sailor immediately went to action aboard the USS Arizona, rushing to the ships many anti-aircraft guns.
While Japanese planes were buzzing through the sky like hornets, strafing American soldiers and sailors, Haerry found that the ammunition had been locked away, mighty inconvenient during a dire situation like his.
According to Stars and Stripes, he made his way towards the magazine, but at that moment a bomb struck the Arizona, sending him flying into the water.
According to the Associated Press and Haerry Jr., his father swam through the harbor, which was engulfed in flaming fuel, by sweeping his arms in front of him to push the flames away.
If that wasn't enough, Haerry swam to shore, picked up a weapon, and began firing back at the Japanese. Once the enemy returned to their aircraft carriers, he finished his day helping collect the bodies of the fallen.
Of the 1,512 crewmen on board the Arizona at the time, 1,177 were killed during the attack. Haerry would go on to serve during the rest of World War II, then on to Korea as well. In all, he was in the U.S. Navy for 25 years before finally retiring as a master chief in Newport, Rhode Island.
He would never return to Pearl Harbor, or even Hawaii, while he was still alive.
Now he's been laid to rest among his fellow crew mates.
Haerry passed away last year on September 27 in Rhode Island at the age of 94, but in the last years of his life, he expressed his desire to be interred on the remains of the USS Arizona, much to the surprise his family.
He was one of six surviving crew members of that ship. Only five remain now.
His granddaughter Jessica Marino, traveled to Hawaii with her family to grant her grandfather's wish. His urn was placed by divers within the wreck of the ship amongst his long passed friends and fellow sailors.
She told AP:
"That was the point at which I kind of lost it. It was really sad, but also really sweet to see. It was amazing.
I know this part of his life that really did shape him. To be a part of getting him back to his ship and with his shipmates, it's an honor for me."
According to the National Park Service, Haerry is the 42nd survivor to rejoin his shipmates in the hallowed wreck. Unfortunately, his son, Raymond Haerry Jr., was unable to make the service due to health issues.
In words that many have expressed already, he did not want to relive the horrors of war, but Haerry wanted to be reunited with the camaraderie that he felt with the men aboard the USS Arizona.
Thank you for your service, Master Sargeant Raymond Haerry.