America

On 69th Anniversary, Pearl Harbor Survivors Remember

The USS Shaw explodes during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

hide captionDec. 7, 1941: The USS Shaw explodes during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Keystone/Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Sixty-nine years ago today, Japan attacked the U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor.

And though fewer of them are still with us, members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association don't want to disband, association president Art Herriford tells the Associated Press.

"Some of these old duffers, if you tried to do away with this organization, you'd have them all to fight,'' Herriford says. The 100 or so members who have gathered in Hawaii again this year voted to keep the organization going. Membership is down from about 18,000 when the association was formed in 1958 to about 3,000 now.

As you would expect, there are many stories this morning about survivors of that day that lives on in infamy.

The Los Angeles Times talked with two men who were there that day and didn't know each other at the time — but 20 years later became neighbors in Monrovia, Calif. Neither wanted to dwell on Dec. 7, 1941.

"I wasn't impressed that George was at Pearl Harbor and George wasn't impressed that I was," one of the men, Paul Perrault, 90, told the Times about his friend Anthony "George" Mark, 87. As the Times writes:

"They speak of the war only when asked and are quick to quash any allusions to bravery or heroism. They are survivors, they say, nothing more. It was all a matter of chance — the same force that would lead them to modest homes that sit side by side on a quiet street."

But in New Jersey, The Star-Ledger writes of a survivor who chose to devote much of his life "to preserving the day's memory." Tom Mahoney, 88, says "the day should be a remembrance of all the sacrifices. ... We should always remember our country's vigilance, no matter how many of us there are left."

Meanwhile, the Honolulu Star Advertiser says the National Park Service is "about to finalize a $63.2 million plan to relate the history of the 'Day of Infamy' in greater detail and complexity — and with greater convenience for visitors — as the number of aged survivors who can tell it themselves dwindles. On Tuesday, the 69th anniversary of the attack, the second half of a new campuslike visitor center and a new museum dedicated to that mission will be opened."

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