AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – The saying is ‘remember Pearl Harbor’ but for these area Veterans, how could they ever forget it changed their lives.
“I was only 16 on that day but two years later I went into the Navy, served in the amphibious forces,” said Richard Craig, a World War II vet stationed in the Pacific.
The attack on Pearl Harbor helped usher America into the war.
Paul Harless was already in the service at the time of Pearl Harbor, he started out on Roosevelt’s yacht, the Potomac, but he soon saw more action.
“Then went out to the Pacific on a destroyer, stayed the rest of the war, picked up 12 battle stars,” said Harless.
They were a lot younger then, spending a big part of their lives fighting America’s enemies but not for fame or glory or even a higher rank.
“If you stayed in there long enough and don’t do anything you get promoted, and we were in combat for a year and a half or something like that,” said Veteran Gould Hagler.
They took part in the biggest battles of the war and history.
“On that destroyer we were at Normandy on D-DAY, shelling the coast and we did quite a bit of shelling off the coast and getting shelled back,” said Joe Battista.
Their battles eventually leading to victory.
“Was there for the occupation and was about 500 yards from the Missouri anchored when the surrendered was signed,” said Craig.
And for the Elks it was great to be able to host the greatest generation.
“To have a day like today, on Pearl Harbor Day to host these men these great, great men it is truly just an honor for us,” said Teena Watson, of Elks Lodge 205.
Many of the stories of the Vets honored today are included in a book published last August called in their own words Augusta Aiken Area World War Two Veterans Remember World War Two.