PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia community came together Friday to say goodbye to a hero: World War II veteran Alex Horanzy. He was the last known Pearl Harbor survivor living in Philadelphia.
Armed with American flags and heavy hearts filled with gratitude, many paid their respects to the 98-year-old vet.
"My dad lived a very long life, a Pearl Harbor survivor. When I was growing up, he really didn't talk about it much," said Joe Horanzy.
But as Horanzy's son Joe got older, he says the war stories came by the dozens.
"Everybody wanted to hear his stories," said Horanzy. "They know time was getting short, and my dad had many stories about the war."
It was back in 1941 that Horanzy and fellow veterans jumped into action when the Japanese attacked American forces.
Action News was there when the veteran and Philly native was honored for his service.
The term 'hero' is something he never got used to.
"I knew we got a job to do, and we are going to do it. You can't get away from it. They say, heroes, you know what I mean. It all depends on how you take the sign for heroes," Alex Horanzy said at the time.
Those who attended his funeral saluted his flagged draped casket.
His death is a somber reminder that the WWII generation is slowly disappearing with time and age.
Joe Horanzy says their stories and sacrifices must never be forgotten.
"We have to keep his legacy going. You can never let your guard down," said Horanzy. "And what the guys went through in WWII and all these wars, all the veterans. Because a lot of people think our freedom is free, but it's not."
According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, there are about 300,000 World War II Veterans still alive, and about 294 of them die each day. Most of the living veterans are in their 90s.
Last Philadelphia survivor of Pearl Harbor attack living in Philadelphia dies