By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
MISSION, KS (KCTV) -
Saturday is the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and every year surviving veterans gather in Mission, KS, to remember that day.
This year only three remain.
"I was a butcher, I had gone down to the mess hall to look at the menu to see if I needed anything out of the freezer for that night. I heard the first plane crash, I thought it was one of ours. Then the first bomb went off, I thought he crashed. Then the second bomb went off, I thought, ‘we didn't have two planes to crash.' About that time the third bomb went off, that's when I decided it was time to move," said survivor Edmund Russell.
"I was sleeping on the second floor of an old wooden barracks, I figured it was the Navy practicing again," said survivor Jack Carson. "The first wave hit us and destroyed all the aircraft and bombed the main barracks and mess hall."
"I was still in my bunk because I'd been up the night before. About 8 o' clock a messenger from the deck came down shouting, ‘the (Japanese) are attacking.' The guy in the front bunk threw his pillow at him and said, ‘get you're a** out of here,'" said survivor Dorwin Lamkin.
At the time it didn't seem real to any of the three men, but it's a day they'll never forget.
"I can remember more vividly what happened back then than I can remember what happened yesterday," Russell said.
Every year on Dec. 7 they pass on their stories, so those stories won't be forgotten when they're gone.
"We checked last month. There are between 2,500-3,500 Pearl Harbor survivors still alive," Carson said.
And they're grateful to everyone who takes the time to listen.
"It means that there are a lot of decent people, who have their memories in the right place and their respect in the right spot," Lamkin said.
While the U.S.S. Arizona memorial was the focus of Saturday's activities at Pearl Harbor, the U.S.S. Missouri, which floats alongside the Arizona, remains the biggest overall draw at Pearl Harbor.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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