December 8, 2013

Remembering Pearl Harbor


Scott: Alright. Back here in the United States, over the weekend, Americans celebrated the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. And Keith is here with a very personal story of that day.

Keith: Yeah, Scott. The surprise invasion brought the United States into World War II. And it was the largest attack on U.S. soil before 9/11. And for those who lived through it, the memories of that day are still very clear.

Clyde Stephenson: There’s a bunch of pictures here. Just go through and take a look at them.

Keith: They are images that speak of Clyde Stephenson’s life of good times…

Stephenson: We got married. We’re married 71 years now.

Keith: …And of trying times for a 21 year old kid from Wisconsin.

Stephenson: Some were taken by Marine Corps pictures. Some I took.

Keith: At the age of 93, memories sometimes get lost in time.

Stephenson: You know, your mind is starting to get a little foggy.

Keith: But there is one day 72 years ago that is all too clear.

Stephenson: That morning, I’ll never forget. One of my best friends on the ship was from Green Bay, Earl Wallen.

Keith: Both were assigned to the battleship USS California stationed at the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Stephenson: All of a sudden we heard this big squadron that went right over top of us and we went out and looked and they were about 500 feet above us.

Keith: They came by the hundreds. Wave after wave of Japanese planes filled the skies over Pearl Harbor, filling the water with death. One of the first ships hit was the USS California.

Stephenson: Earl got killed on the ship.

Keith: In those hours, who lived and who died came down to who was where and when.

Stephenson: Where the bomb hit, then you were gone. And if you happened to be in the area that didn’t get hit, then you were okay.

Keith: More than 2,400 Americans died that day. And now 72 years later, Clyde wants everyone to remember that sacrifice.

Stephenson: Remember he gave his life up for his country.

Keith: World War II went on for another four years and more than 400,000 Americans died, and more than 60 million people worldwide lost their lives, making it the deadliest conflict in human history.

Scott: Thanks, Keith. And thanks to all of our veterans who served in World War II.


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