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Local Doctor Joins 14 World War II Veterans In Hawaii Visiting Pearl Harbor On 80th Anniversary

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- On the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, a solemn ceremony was held onboard the Battleship New Jersey in Camden. Camden and Gloucester Counties conducted a joint observance Tuesday, where officials tossed a wreath into the Delaware River in memory of those who died.

They also celebrated the battleship. The Navy launched it from the Philadelphia Navy Yard exactly one year after Pearl Harbor. It headed to the pacific.

Eyewitness News spoke with one local doctor Tuesday night. His name is Dr. Bob Czincila, and he's the chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery.

Czincila's in Hawaii with 14 World War II veterans visiting Pearl Harbor, where ceremonies were held in remembrance of the 2,400 Americans who died on this day 80 years ago.

Forever Young Veterans is a nonprofit that helps older war vets travel back to where they fought for the U.S. After meeting the head of the group and some veterans this May in Reading, Czincila offered his services, if needed, on any upcoming trips. That's how he ended up with the group at Pearl Harbor.

"It's been an absolutely amazing experience," Czincila said. "Fortunate enough to be able to travel with this group. Fourteen veterans, as I stated, from the age of 94 to 99 years old. They don't look at themselves as heroes. Each and every one of them will tell you that the true heroes were the ones who were laid to rest because they didn't survive that attack 80 years ago today."

Three of the 14 in Hawaii are from the Delaware Valley. One is from the Mayfair section of Philadelphia, another one lives in Boyertown and a third is from Allentown.

"He was the fifth person to recognize that there were planes coming in and he was told not to worry about it because they believed that there were going to be, I believe, B-17 bombers, that were coming in from the mainland to Pearl Harbor when in reality, it was actually the Japanese that were starting their runs for the attack," Czincila said.

Eyewitness News saw the doctor's beaming smile as he described being in the company of these men, listening to them share stories of years past, but there was also sadness.

"It was the full gamut of emotions from awe and wonder, listening to their stories and being able to interact with them and shake hands and look these guys in the eyes to watching them cry," Czincila said.

When Eyewitness News asked the doctor what Pearl Harbor means to him, he said that he thinks it's an awesome opportunity for the country to come back together and remember how the country came together as a nation to ward off evil in World War II.

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