HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Capitol hosted a Pearl Harbor Remembrance ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022, even welcoming Pennsylvania’s last living survivor of the attack.

On Dec. 7, 1941, 81 years ago, Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese and the United States pushed itself into World War II.

Japanese bombs and planes brought destruction and death to Pearl Harbor, killing over 2,300 Americans.

“They woke up that Sunday morning and it changed the course of history,” said Admiral Peter Stamapopoulos of the Naval Support Academy in Mechanicsburg.

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Every year the ceremony pays tribute and several men share their heroic and harrowing stories.

Richard Schimmel, an Allentown native and the last Pearl Harbor survivor in Pennsylvania, shared his first-person account.

“I’ll never forget that day. All of a sudden we saw these Japanese planes coming and they were heading over toward the ships,” said Schimmel.

Schimmel might be slow on his feet, but his mind is sharp. abc27 asked Schimmel what his keys to being 100 years old are.

“Keep living. Go to church, that’s a big thing,” Schimmel said. “Try to be good, stay away from the police. That’s all.”

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Barbara Spaventa of the World World II Roundtable spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on Pearl Harbor survivors.

“Several years ago, before the pandemic, we had that whole front line filled with World War II Pearl Harbor survivors, and it’s very sad that we’ve lost them since then,” said Spaventa.

The loss of thousands of Americans is not lost on Admiral Stamapopoulos to this day.

“We have some competition going on with some of our adversaries in the Pacific, and we’ve got to be ready. We can never let this happen to us again,” Stamapopoulos added.

Schimmel thinks of the situation a little differently.

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“It can happen at any time. We have these goof balls over there, I’m not gonna mention any countries, but it could happen again,” Schimmel said.

Schimmel also said this year is likely his last year attending the Pearl Harbor Remembrance event.

Last year’s 80th-anniversary remembrance event could not be hosted at the Pennsylvania Capitol due to lockdowns after the Jan. 6 insurrection, another date that will live in infamy.