By AUDREY McAVOY, The Associated Press

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — About 2,500 gathered at Pearl Harbor on Saturday to remember those killed in the 1941 Japanese attack that launched the U.S. into World War II.

The crowd observed a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the minute the bombing began 72 years ago.

A vintage World War II-era airplane — a 1944 North American SNJ-5B — flew overhead to break the silence. The Hawaii Air National Guard has used its fighter jets and helicopters to perform the flyover for many years, but federal budget cuts prevented it from participating this year.

About 50 survivors returned to Pearl Harbor for the ceremony.

"I come back to be with my comrades — meet the ones who are still alive, and we're going fast," said Delton Walling, who was assigned to the USS Pennsylvania at the time of the attack.

The Navy and National Park Service co-hosted the ceremony, which was open to the public. Their theme for the event, "Sound the Alarm," explores how Americans answered a call to duty in the wake of the attack.

The current U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., said the U.S. remembers the warning from those who survived.

"We remember Pearl Harbor, we are vigilant, and we are ready to fight tonight and win," Harris said. "Not only are we poised to respond to the first notes of the alarm bell, we are also doing everything possible to keep those alarms from sounding in the first place."

Former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia will deliver the keynote address.

The Vietnam War veteran is currently secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission, which is responsible for managing overseas cemeteries for fallen American troops.

Later in the day, Pearl Harbor survivors will join military and government officials in a parade through Waikiki.

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  • World War II Marine's Diary

    This photo provided by the National WWII Museum shows a photo of 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II. Before Jones died, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved. Laura Mae Davis Burlingame _ she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 _ had given the diary to Jones, and didn’t know it had survived him until visiting the museum on April 24. (AP Photo/National WWII Museum)

  • Laura Mae Davis Burlingame

    In this Thursday, May 23, 2013 photo, Laura Mae Davis Burlingame, 90, holds a photo of herself from high school, in her Moorseville, Ind. home. The photo filled the back cover of a diary she had given to a Marine Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones, a 22-year-old machine gunner, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II. Burlingame didn’t know the military diary she gave Jones had survived him. She saw it and read, “If this Diary is lost and if it is Possible please return it to Miss Laura Mae Davis. Address. Winslow Indiana.” (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • World War II Marine's Diary

    This photo provided by the National WWII Museum shows a page of photographs from the diary by 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II. The diary includes his writings as well as photos of himself and his high school sweetheart, Laura Mae Davis. Before Jones died, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved. Laura Mae Davis Burlingame _ she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 _ had given the diary to Jones, and didn’t know it had survived him until visiting the museum on April 24. (AP Photo/National WWII Museum)

  • World War II Marine's Diary

    In this May 23, 2013 photo, a diary, letters and photos of 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Thomas "Cotton" Jones, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II, are on display at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Before Jones died, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved. Laura Mae Davis Burlingame _ she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 _ had given the diary to Jones, and didn’t know it had survived him until visiting the museum on April 24. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

  • World War II Marine's Diary

    In this Thursday, May 23, 2013 photo, Laura Mae Davis Burlingame, 90, displays a copy of the first pages of the diary of Marine Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones, at her Moorseville, Ind. home. Burlingame had given the diary to Jones, a 22-year-old machine gunner, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island. Burlingame didn’t know the military diary she gave Jones had survived him. She saw it and read, “If this Diary is lost and if it is Possible please return it to Miss Laura Mae Davis. Address. Winslow Indiana.” (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • World War II Marine's Diary

    In this May 23, 2013 photo, a page of out of the diary of 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Thomas Jones featuring a photo of his high school sweetheart, Laura Mae Davis Burlingame, is on display at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Behind is a Marine uniform like one Jones, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II, would have worn. Before Jones died, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved. Laura Mae Davis Burlingame _ she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 _ had given the diary to Jones, and didn’t know it had survived him until visiting the museum on April 24. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

  • World War II Marine's Diary

    In this May 23, 2013 photo, a page of out of the diary of 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Thomas Jones featuring a photo of his high school sweetheart, Laura Mae Davis Burlingame, is on display at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Behind is a Marine uniform like one Jones, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II, would have worn. Before Jones died, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved. Laura Mae Davis Burlingame _ she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 _ had given the diary to Jones, and didn’t know it had survived him until visiting the museum on April 24. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

  • World War II Marine's Diary

    This photo provided by the National WWII Museum shows pages from the diary by 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II. Before Jones died, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved. Laura Mae Davis Burlingame _ she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 _ had given the diary to Jones, and didn’t know it had survived him until visiting the museum on April 24. (AP Photo/National WWII Museum)

  • World War II Marine's Diary

    This photo provided by the National WWII Museum shows the first entry from the diary of 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II. Before Jones died, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved. Laura Mae Davis Burlingame _ she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 _ had given the diary to Jones, and didn’t know it had survived him until visiting the museum on April 24. (AP Photo/National WWII Museum)

  • World War II Marine's Diary

    This photo provided by the National WWII Museum shows pages from the diary by 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II. Before Jones died, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved. Laura Mae Davis Burlingame _ she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 _ had given the diary to Jones, and didn’t know it had survived him until visiting the museum on April 24. (AP Photo/National WWII Museum)

  • World War II Marine's Diary

    This photo provided by the National WWII Museum shows pages from the diary by 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II. Before Jones died, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved. Laura Mae Davis Burlingame _ she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 _ had given the diary to Jones, and didn’t know it had survived him until visiting the museum on April 24. (AP Photo/National WWII Museum)

  • World War II Marine's Diary

    In this May 23, 2013 photo, a diary, letters and photos of 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Thomas "Cotton" Jones, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II, are on display at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Before Jones died, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved. Laura Mae Davis Burlingame _ she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 _ had given the diary to Jones, and didn’t know it had survived him until visiting the museum on April 24. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

  • World War II Marine's Diary

    This photo provided by the National WWII Museum shows pages from the diary by 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II. Before Jones died, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved. Laura Mae Davis Burlingame _ she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 _ had given the diary to Jones, and didn’t know it had survived him until visiting the museum on April 24. (AP Photo/National WWII Museum)

  • World War II Marine's Diary

    This photo provided by the National WWII Museum shows a telegram notifying his parents of the death of their son, 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II. (AP Photo/National WWII Museum)

  • World War II Marine's Diary

    This photo provided by the National WWII Museum shows pages from the diary by 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II, including a portrait of his high school sweetheart, Laura Mae Davis, at right. Before Jones died, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved. Laura Mae Davis Burlingame _ she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 _ had given the diary to Jones, and didn’t know it had survived him until visiting the museum on April 24. . (AP Photo/National WWII Museum)

  • World War II Marine's Diary

    This photo provided by the National WWII Museum shows pages from the diary by 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II. Before Jones died, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved. Laura Mae Davis Burlingame _ she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 _ had given the diary to Jones, and didn’t know it had survived him until visiting the museum on April 24. (AP Photo/National WWII Museum)