Pearl Flight: Helping Pearl Harbor survivors travel to Hawaii fo - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Pearl Flight: Helping Pearl Harbor survivors travel to Hawaii for anniversary

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor will be this year, and there is a big effort underway to fly the oldest living survivor of the attack to Hawaii to commemorate it.

There are 2,000 survivors still alive today, and many are in their 90's. Many do not like to talk about the day that claimed 2,400 American lives - a day that lives in infamy.

This year, two groups want to honor survivors of the attack by flying local survivors, including the oldest one living in Poway, to the 75th Anniversary ceremony in Honolulu.

At the age of 104, retired Naval Chief Ray Chavez is the oldest living Pearl Harbor survivor.

Chavez remains active by going to the gym twice a week in Rancho Bernardo at Personally Fit.

"I don't feel any older. Although, I am getting older everyday, I don't feel it," said Chavez.

Ray's daughter, Kathleen Chavez, is his sole caretaker. She said her dad would not talk much about the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.

"If it wasn't for them, we would be living in a whole different United States. I don't think I would like it very much," she said.

Ray's wife passed away in the 1980's, and in 1991, Kathleen offered to take him to the Pearl Harbor Ceremony for the 50th Anniversary. "Believe it or not, I cried. I got so emotional," he said.

For the past five years, Ray has returned to Pearl Harbor every year since he turned 100-years-old.

"I want to go back every year. I don't know how long I will be here," he said.

Ray said he appreciates the ceremonies done on the mainland, but said by being at Pearl Harbor, where he lost so many men, he can honor them and those still living.

The Rotary Club and Personally Fit's goal is to raise $40,000. They believe there are only 19 living survivors in San Diego, but not all of them are physically able to travel to Hawaii.

Ray makes a few public appearances at high schools and veteran services appreciation days.

To help Ray return to Pearl Harbor this year, visit their GoFundMe page

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