NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Eighty years ago, thousands of lives were lost when Japanese war planes bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The event launched America into World War II.

The sunken battleships became watery graves for thousands of Americans. In the years since, some of the day’s survivors have chosen the iron tomb at the bottom of the harbor as their final resting place.

Norfolk resident and Pearl Harbor survivor Lt. Harvey Milhorn was interred in the USS Arizona this Tuesday, the 80th anniversary of the attack. He’ll likely be the last survivor to be buried in the ship.

His daughter, Frances Goldsberry, and granddaughter, Rachel Yarasavich, took his ashes to Hawaii.

“I think he will be at peace finally” said Goldsberry. “He was hurt all through his life. You could tell that losing those people, his shipmates, really affected him.”

(Photo courtesy: Rachel Yarasavich)

Milhorn’s burial was complete with a ceremonial color guard, a 21-gun salute, and taps. Milhorn was a gunner’s mate at the time of the attack. To honor him, everyone who participated in the ceremony was either a current or former gunner’s mate. This included the Navy diver who took Milhorn’s ashes down to the vessel.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Harvey Milhorn stood on the deck of the USS Arizona chatting with his friend Russ Tanner. Milhorn was just 20 years old at the time. In past interviews, he’s recalled making plans to go see a movie in Waikiki later that day with Tanner. They never made it to the theater.

Around 7:55 a.m., explosions rocked the harbor.

Before his death, Milhorn sat down with 10 On Your Side for an interview on the 50th anniversary of the attack in 1991. He recalled those moments when the reality of the day sunk in.

“We’re standing up on the boat deck, discussing going to shore,” said Milhorn. “We kind of thought it was a drill. About that time, a torpedo plane dropped a torpedo into the Oklahoma. We saw the meatballs of the rising suns on the wings and we knew it wasn’t a drill then. You know we knew it was an actual attack.”

Milhorn and Tanner separated, each running to their individual battle stations. Milhorn headed to a part of the ship called the “birdbath.” He would never see Russ again.

In an autobiography, Milhorn wrote, “I sent the other members of the gun crew to the forward magazine for ammunition. I stayed in the birdbath to operate the hoist. All of a sudden there was a terrible explosion on the ship. Our forward magazine, containing 150 tons of main battery powder, had exploded. Everything forward of the main mast was on fire.”

(Photo courtesy: Rachel Yarasavich)

A fallen Marine officer stood out in his memory of these moments.

“He was in his white dress uniform. He had been hit in the stomach and his blood looked really red against the white of his uniform. I would have to step over him to reach reach the ladder. I hesitated; then went back up the birdbath. By then, the Oklahoma was bottom-up,” he recalled.

Milhorn made his way around the horrific scene.

“The crew of 5″/25-caliber #8 [gun] were lying all around the gun and they were all were dead. The ship’s cook had been blown out of the galley. He was laying on the platform with both legs missing. He too was dead … I saw the band’s musical instruments lying on deck in nice rows where they left them when they manned their battle stations… The band was to play colors; the night before they had won the battle of the bands and now they were all dead.”

Eventually Milhorn saw his commanding officer and asked permission to abandon ship. Lt. Cmdr. Fuqua said “Go ahead, son.”

Milhorn dove overboard and swam to shore and safety. He immediately volunteered for a post on the USS Tennessee and continued fighting the war.

That day, 1,177 sailors and Marines would die on the USS Arizona, accounting for close to half of the total casualties of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Milhorn dedicated the next 30 years of his life to the Navy, but he never fully left the Arizona.

“I can close my eyes and actually see it. I can see the ship burning and the explosion. I don’t know, I guess it’s burned in my mind and my memory.” Milhorn recalled during his interview with 10 On Your Side.

Milhorn died in 2002. Logistics, finances, and permits for the burial took time to sort out. But on this Tuesday, Milhorn rejoined his crew at last.