Survivors remember Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 70 years ago

Wed Dec 7, 2011 6:39pm EST
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By Harriet McLeod

MOUNT PLEASANT, South Carolina (Reuters) - Four survivors of the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor were honored aboard the USS Yorktown in Charleston Harbor on Wednesday, the 70th anniversary of the battle that brought the United States into World War Two.

The sneak attack in Hawaii in 1941 killed nearly 2,400 American service members and wounded more than 1,100.

Don Ralph, 89, said was an Army private first class and an X-ray technician at Hickam Field near Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, when the attack began early in the morning.

A self-described "hillbilly from Kentucky," Ralph lives in Manning, South Carolina. He said he has never seen another day like the attack, and "thank God, I hope I never do."

"I drove an ambulance," he said. "I picked up people and brought them to the hospital. The old saying is 'All gave some, and some gave all.' The American people remember and appreciate it."

Survivor George W. Denton, 89, who lives in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, said a hotel now stands on his Army unit's parade ground near Waikiki Beach. A tech sergeant, his unit fired two 14-inch guns on Japanese ships, he said.

When asked what this anniversary means to him, Denton's eyes teared up and he could not speak.

David "Buck' Morris, 86, a signalman aboard the destroyer Phelps at Pearl Harbor in 1941, said he went on to serve "five years, two months and 10 days" in the Navy. The anniversary "just brings back so many memories for those of us who were there," he said.   Continued...

<p>The U.S. Navy battleship USS California is seen ablaze after an attack by Japanese carrier based strike aircraft on the Hawaiian port of Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941. December 7, 2011 marks the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack in which over 2,400 members of the United States military were killed. Picture taken December 7, 1941. REUTERS/U.S. Navy Photograph/Newscom/Handout</p>