FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFTA) — Friday marks 77 years since the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
On December 7th, 1941, the imperial Japanese navy bombed the U.S. naval base in a preemptive action to keep the U.S. pacific fleet from interfering with japan’s planned military actions in Southeast Asia.
Over 2,400 Americans were killed in this surprise attack that led America directly into world war II.
It brings back memories for the few remaining pearl harbor survivors, like Emery Lundquist, and for other vets who appreciate all they did.
“After years I can still remember the first shots,” Emery Lundquist said.
t was a day that Lundquist, 97, says he will never forget.
“It was unusual to see a lot of warships in an area, and I spotted them coming toward pearl harbor so we had a pretty good indication that something was going to happen.”
Enrolling just one year before the attack, he fought bravely as a First Class Torpedo Man and Seaman First Class in the Navy. Lundquist served in the navy and reserves for 40 years.
“They thought it was going to be a surprise, the Japs did,” Lundquist said.
Navy veteran Charles Goebel says although he didn’t witness the attack on Pearl Harbor, it’s a moment of history he holds close to his heart.
“The sacrifice that they gave is so monumental, that the people of the United States should remember and praise those individuals for the sacrifice that they gave, and what it means to me is unbelievable. I think about it all the time,” Goebel explained.
As the number of remaining Americans who witnessed this foreign attack on American soil dwindles, Lundquist offers a piece of advice.
“Main thing is — you never know when the war is going to start. This was just overnight. They were prepared but we weren’t.”