Local Pearl Harbor survivors say they'll never forget

December 7, 2011 2:37:38 PM PST
It's been 70 years since the surprise Japanese attack on the U.S. Pacific fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor. More than 2,000 Americans were killed in the attack, which led the U.S. into World War II.

The Navy had a special ceremony marking the anniversary Wednesday at Chicago's Navy Pier. Local Pearl Harbor survivors were the guests of honor. They have been called America's greatest generation.

"It is an honor and pleasure to be here in the company of you, survivors," Navy Captain Randall Lynch told the survivors.

Jack Terrell, 91, says it is a day he will never forget. "To come under very hostile, unexpected fire changed our lives forever," Terrell told ABC7.

Jack Barry represented the survivors at Wednesday's event. His job during the war was to guard the captain of his ship.

"Remember Pearl Harbor. Be alert. That's my message," Barry said.

"We have commemorated it for years and we will not let it fall or be forgotten," said Ald. James Balcer of the 11th Ward.

A wreath was thrown into Lake Michigan and a 21-gun salute paid tribute to the men who lost their lives.

"It's in memory of those fellows that perished in Pearl Harbor and those still alive," said survivor Joe Triolo. At the time of the attack he recalls that the ammunition boxes were locked and it took time to get them open. "After we got them open then we started firing on the aircraft," he said.

John Lyle Hancock, 90, says he was in the shower when Japanese bombers launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. "All he could think of was how inexperienced we were," Hancock said.

"That is when I was scared," he said.

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