Pearl Harbor Veterans

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A number of local survivors attended a commemoration at Naval Support Activity-Panama City Beach Wednesday. They spent time talking with some of the young sailors on hand about what they remember during Black Sunday and even handed out medals and awards to a few sailors.

And for the younger generations who didn't witness Pearl Harbor, some of the survivors say the attacks on 9/11 remind them of what they went through more than a half century ago.

"I'll never forget the smoke at Pearl Harbor, the channel and the harbor was completely covered in black smoke and I could see the same thing happen to the tall buildings in 9/11. It sure brought back a lot of memories."

Memories are what these survivors have. The attack at Pearl Harbor stunned the nation and brought the country together.

"It was an important day just to be alive, first of all, that's what you think of you take care of yourself. There was a lot of people around that would give you all the help you need, and they were just as scared as I was, so it's nothing to laugh at, and that day is just like the president said, it was bad."

While this is a celebration of the survivors of Pearl Harbor, it's also a great opportunity for some of these local sailors in Panama City Beach to talk with them and learn about their stories and their firsthand knowledge of that fateful day.

"Having the opportunity to meet some of these guys personally and to talk with them and their families is, not only is it an honor, it's quite moving to make this ceremony, which is already an achievement for me, even more so, because now I've had an opportunity to interact with them and to learn from their experiences firsthand."

Those experiences are as valuable today as they were 64 years ago.

The Northwest Florida Chapter 3 of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association started in 1968 with 30 members. Now the local roster has shrunk to 10.