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Vietnam Veterans pay respects on the 76th anniversary of Pearl Harbor

08 December 2017

A standing ovation for three Pearl Harbor survivors from Pennsylvania.

The 94-year who lives near Lytle, Texas, was an 18-year-old fireman first class when a torpedo hit the port side of the Utah.

"I knew he was at Pearl Harbor, but we never heard a word about what he was doing over there".

About 20 people attended the ceremony held in front of a plaque bearing the names of 109 Lackawanna County residents stationed at Pearl Harbor during the attack.

He told the story of an officer who warned friends of the impending attack, only to be ignored. It was the inciting incident that got the USA into World War II.

Roosevelt famously called it a "date that will live in infamy" in 1941.

Herbert Elfring remembered hearing bombs explode and initially thought the explosions were USA training exercises.

"We always need to be there in case a situation occurs", says Post II Commander Bill Davies.

During this aerial tour of the historic site, the survivors - Lauren Bruner, Howard "Ken" Potts, and Donald Stratton - were given the opportunity to once again honor the 1,177 shipmates they lost during the attack. That part extended past his initial enlistment - past World War II and into Korea, where he turned down a battlefield promotion since it hinged on him remaining in the infantry.

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"I don't think about it too much anymore because something like this brings it back to your memory", Stephenson said.

"Instead of retreating from the fight, America's Pacific Fleet dug in its heels", Swift said.

The United States was particularly unhappy with Japan's increasingly belligerent attitude toward China.

In all, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor crippled or destroyed almost 20 American ships and more than 300 airplanes.

"Here we had the Pacific, we were attacked in the Pacific at Pearl Harbor, and a couple of days later Germany declared war on us", said Thomas.

Shelbyville High School students placed over 100 wreaths on the graves of veterans at Glenwood Cemetery in remembrance of that attack.

"We are building up the military beyond what you ever thought".

"If people had seen some of the things I've seen at Battle of the Bulge, they'd respect every service member", he said.

Vietnam Veterans pay respects on the 76th anniversary of Pearl Harbor