Survivors Gather to Remember Those Lost at Pearl Harbor

NBCNY: A few dozen survivors of Pearl Harbor are expected to gather Tuesday at the site of the Japanese bombing 80 years ago to remember those killed in the attack that launched the U.S. into World War II.

Herb Elfring, 99, said he’s glad to return to Pearl Harbor considering he almost didn’t live through the aerial assault.

“It was just plain good to get back and be able to participate in the remembrance of the day,” Elfring told reporters over the weekend.

Elfring was in the Army, assigned to the 251st Coast Artillery, part of the California National Guard on Dec. 7, 1941. He recalled Japanese zero planes flying overhead and bullets strafing his Army base at Camp Malakole, a few miles down the coast from Pearl Harbor. more

5 Comments on Survivors Gather to Remember Those Lost at Pearl Harbor

  1. Somewhat related; Edward Shames, the last surviving officer of Easy Company from “Band of Brothers” fame, died on Sunday;

    I know G.O.T. and The Sopranos have their fans but for my money, the HBO series Band of Brothers was the best TV series ever. Based on Stephen Ambrose’s great book, Easy Company found themselves in every major battle after D-Day. A remarkable story.

  2. I never knew this little bit of history:

    Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona memorial in Hawaii every thirty minutes. We just missed a
    ferry and had to wait thirty minutes. I went into a small gift shop to kill time. In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled, “Reflections on Pearl Harbor” by Admiral Chester Nimitz.Sunday, December 7th, 1941—Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington D.C. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone.
    He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet.

    Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941. There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat—you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war. On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the
    destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the
    waters every where you looked. As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, “Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?” Admiral Nimitz’s reply shocked everyone
    within the sound of his voice.

    Admiral Nimitz said, “The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America. Which do you think it was?” Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman
    asked, “What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?”
    Nimitz explained:

    Mistake number one: The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk–we would have lost
    38,000 men instead of 3,800.

    Mistake number two: When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried
    away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had
    destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired.As
    it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America. And I already have
    crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

    Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply. That’s why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make or God was taking care of America . I’ve never forgotten what I read in that little book. It is still an inspiration as I reflect upon it. In jest, I might suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan, born and raised in
    Fredericksburg, Texas — he was a born optimist. But anyway you look at it—Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism. President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job. We desperately needed a leader that could see silver linings in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat. There is a reason that our national motto is, IN GOD WE TRUST.

    Why have we forgotten?

    PRAY FOR OUR COUNTRY! In God we trust

  3. Still remember the many 50-cal bullet holes in the Navy PX (where we shopped) and other attached buildings at Pearl Harbor in 1952. Could still see the yet-to-be repaired/replaced damaged buildings from our Kidd Drive (now Kidd Circle) cinder block single-story military housing duplexes built for aviator/Pacific Fleet military families.

    Eventually, they fixed it all, including demolishing all the duplexes. There are now only extremely large 5-bedroom mansions in that neighborhood area, where I used to run and play.


  4. Thanks @joe6pak for that excellent post.

    Been to several battle fields:

    Little Big Horn
    Gettysburg / Antietam

    And Pearl Harbor.

    All defeat, All horrible, but a so much an affect.


Comments are closed.