Today is Pearl Harbor Day.
While the various oral history projects seek to capture the history of WWII in that generation’s own words and spoken voice, the fact remains that their numbers are dwindling and Pearl Harbor Day is but a far away historical event to many generations today, indeed it is somewhat telling that the Wikipedia page actually begins with “this article is about the actual attack. For the arcade flying game of the same name, see Attack on Pearl Harbor (game)”.
There are now only a handful of living survivors of Pearl Harbor, including one extraordinary veteran, John Finn. At 98 years old, Finn is not only a survivor of Pearl Harbor but also the oldest living recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, this nation’s highest honor. Despite being wounded 22 times, Finn manned his battle station and shot down the first Japanese plane of the war.
Chester Nimitz himself presented the CMH to Finn aboard the USS Enterprise the following year, yet in a fashion that is typical of true heroes, Finn says he was just doing as he was trained, saying “I just did the duties of a chief ordinanceman”.
In addition to the links below, I highly recommend jumping to the National Geographic special section, which I linked to last year as well.