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Ceremony marks Pearl Harbor attack, new memorial

Pearl Harbor survivors and veterans attend the ceremony. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

Hundreds of people attended a Pearl Harbor memorial and groundbreaking ceremony on Friday in Phoenix.

The hour-long ceremony -- designed to both mark the day the Empire of Japan attacked the U.S. fleet in 1941 and the construction of a new monument -- was attended by several survivors, people Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar should never be forgotten.

"You exemplify a sense of camaraderie and bravery that was greater than the world has ever known," he told the veterans. "The fallen shipmates will forever be remembered for their uncommon courage that defined us when we needed it most: December 7."

One of those survivors, Lambert Mars, was working as a Navy pharmacist when the attack occurred.

"I thought it was our people practicing, but it was the Japanese," he said.

Mars said he spent hours after the attacks identifying bodies and still gets choked up when he visits Pearl Harbor, the place where his best friend was killed.

The groundbreaking of the new monument, scheduled to open Dec. 7, 2013, was presided over by Sec. of State Ken Bennett.

"This new monument will become and has been the new World War II memorial for the state of Arizona," he said.

The monument will feature gun barrels from the U.S.S. Missouri and the U.S.S. Arizona.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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