Pearl Harbor: A Personal History

listen Listen to Renee Montagne's report.

listen Hear "Bud" Montagne's essay.

Ellene & Bud Montagne

Ellene and "Bud" Montagne met again after the war. This picture was taken just before they eloped in 1946.
(Photo courtesy Montagne family)

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Listen to Part I and Part II of the May 2001 reports.

Dec. 7, 2001 -- The release of the movie Pearl Harbor on Memorial Day weekend gave the Hollywood treatment to one of the great historical moments in American history: Japan's surprise attack on the American fleet in Pearl Harbor.

Friday, some of those who were there in 1941 gathered again at Pearl Harbor to mark the 60th anniversary of the attack. Among those returning survivors is Arthur Montagne. He's known to friends as Art; to his family as Bud; and, to NPR's Renee Montagne, as Dad.

On December 7, 1941, Radioman 2nd Class Montagne Art Montagne was serving aboard the Flagship, USS California, docked at the head of Battleship Row. At 7:55 am, over the loudspeakers came the rapid, almost deafening clanging of a bell, followed by the bugle call ordering all aboard to battle stations. Montagne raced to his: the Flag Radioroom on the Admiral's Bridge.

This is the tale of one young Navy man who lived through the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is a story of Art and his best friend Joe, who ended up at Pearl Harbor together. And it's also the story of the girl Art met and proposed to in November of 1941 -- just before he shipped out and headed back to the Fleet. It is a true story of Pearl Harbor, told by a father to his daughter for the first time, 60 years later.