Survivors reunite to remember Pearl Harbor attack

Dec 7, 2014 7:06 PM by Charlene Cheng

"I wasn't smart enough to be scared. It was kind of exciting. Shouldn't have been but it was. Ships sinking, ships out in fire. Lot of guys in the water. They float for awhile before they sink," said Melvin Fisher, who was serving aboard the USS Whitney the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.

73 years later, he still can't shake the memory of that fateful day, December 7, 1941.

"From the time we moved further back into Pearl Harbor, the Arizona had disappeared. Son of a gun blew holes and sank. It was something. Noisy, because they were bombing all around," he added.

Now 92 years old, Fisher, along with Mike Sotak and Arthur Wynant, are the last known Pearl Harbor survivors in Shasta County.

They gathered for an annual ceremony to commemorate the occasion.

"I felt super like every Hawaiian. Wake up every morning in Hawaii, sun is shining, flowers are just gorgeous. It's a super day. Then it went from a super day to hell. That's when enemy planes were bombing and strafing," Sotak said.

The Japanese attack killed about 2,400 sailors, Marines, and soldiers, changing the lives of these men, and the course of our nation's history, forever.

"At the moment we didn't know what was going on. The guys stationed above the water level could look out the port and see what was going on. In the engine room, right by the rudder, we were just kinda mystified. We had no enemies that we knew of," Wynant said.

And on this year's anniversary, Don Crandall, who woke up that morning as his dad spun out of the driveway on his way to his ship at Pearl Harbor, asks the community to remember the veterans who couldn't be here with us.

"Today we commemorate those who gave their last full measure, that we might live a full life. These were men who went down to the sea in ships, 1,600 in the USS Oklahoma and the USS Arizona alone, in darkened ships, that's where they are. May light to shine on their faces forever," he said.


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