By Associated Press Writer
updated 9/10/2006 7:42:02 PM ET 2006-09-10T23:42:02

Ansil L. Saunders speaks carefully into the camera, describing the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when he stood on the deck of a ship at the entry to Pearl Harbor.

"There was explosions coming from all over — different areas. We looked up and the airplanes was flying around. And, hey, there's the Arizona getting hit," Saunders says, raising his hands for emphasis. "And that was the first wave."

A private group supporting the USS Arizona Memorial posted Saunders' 4 1/2-minute video clip, as well as the oral testaments, photos, and letters of other survivors, on a new Web site created to preserve memories of the attack 65 years ago. The site is scheduled to launch on Friday.

Supporters of The Pearl Harbor Survivor's Project urgently feel the need to gather the stories because many who survived the attack are dying. Saunders passed away on May 25 at the age of 87.

"There's an hourglass that's dropping sand everyday," said Daniel Martinez, chief historian at the USS Arizona Memorial Park.

On the Web site, survivors tell their stories — how they joined the military and how they got to be at Pearl Harbor, or other Hawaii military installations, on the day of the Japanese assault.

The site asks survivors who haven't recorded their stories to register and do so, via the Web or over the phone if they prefer.

Martinez said he hopes civilians who lived through the attack — and their families — will submit their memories as well, because their perspectives are important to the full story of what happened.

He gave as an example the experience of U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, 81, who raised his fist in frustration at the invading planes when he was a 17-year-old Japanese-American high school student.

Alby Saunders, 54, son of Ansil Saunders and a board member of the Arizona Memorial Museum Association, said he would be pleased if the site deepens the public's knowledge of the attack.

"I hope the site helps to perpetuate the stories to be handed down even beyond our times. Because once they're gone, they're gone forever," Saunders said. "To document them, to describe them, is important particularly at this time."

The National Park Service already has audio and video recordings of some 450 interviews of survivors taken over the past 20 years, Martinez said. The new Web site might help this number grow by the thousands, he said.

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