Local Pearl Harbor Survivor Recalls Dec. 7, 1941

By: Tim Elliott Email
By: Tim Elliott Email

On this day 68 years ago, the empire of Japan suddenly and deliberately attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

News 4 spoke with survivors and family members of survivors who experienced a day that propelled the United States into World War II.

“December 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy,” was the famous quote by then-President Franklin Roosevelt.

"It seems like it wasn't too long ago. I’ll tell ya it seems to me like it was a dream now,” said Pearl Harbor survivor Chester Faulkner

The 91-year-old Faulkner was a 23-year-old soldier stationed in Hawaii when the Japanese attacked.

“I think about it quite often what happened that day…the windows shaking near my bed and the bombs falling on Wheeler Field,”

More than 2,000 American soldiers lost their lives that day; a day that changed the course of history.

“When he arrived in Hawaii he was 18, he was 19 at the attack, so I would say, he went from being a boy to a man,”

Caroyln Olk's father was also a soldier in Hawaii that fateful day.

She says her dad did what he could to stay alive.

“Basically what he did he ran he didn't have any weapons he basically had a pair of flip flops on and just ran and he was running with hundreds of other people because they weren't prepared. He just had to keep going because he would have been killed as well,” said Olk.

Olk's mother was 19 at the time of the attack.

She says the news was tough to swallow.

“I couldn't believe it, what has happened and why? Because we really knew about a stir in Washington but never dreamed it would be something like it was,” said Robbye Walton.

Olk says her father never really talked about that day, until she asked.

“I went home and I said ‘dad have you ever heard this place pearl harbor and what happened there’ and he kind of chuckled and said ‘yeah, I was there,” said Olk.

This military family believes people should honor every soldier's service and sacrifice.

“We need to always remember, just don't forget. We just need to be strong, as a nation as a people,” added Walton.

In addition to the more than 2,300 U.S. military men and women killed in the attack, almost 60 U.S. civilians also lost their lives.

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