Pearl Har­bor re­mem­bered

Cer­e­mony first to take place with­out any at­tack sur­vivors

Albuquerque Journal - - METRO & NM - BY MADDY HAYDEN JOUR­NAL STAFF WRITER

There were no Pearl Har­bor sur­vivors at a cer­e­mony com­mem­o­rat­ing the 76th an­niver­sary of the bomb­ing that spurred Amer­ica’s in­volve­ment in World War II on Dec. 7, 1941.

“They’re dis­ap­pear­ing,” said Bob Scott, past pres­i­dent of the Al­bu­querque chap­ter of Sons and Daugh­ters of Pearl Har­bor Sur­vivors, af­ter the Thurs­day af­ter­noon cer­e­mony at the New Mex­ico Vet­er­ans’ Me­mo­rial. “There’s 2,000 left, but they’re not go­ing to be around much longer.”

Scott said he reached out to ev­ery vet­er­ans or­ga­ni­za­tion in the state he could think of, ask­ing if they were aware of any liv­ing sur­vivors, to no avail.

Scott said he knows of one who lives in Al­bu­querque, but at 98 years old, he was un­able to make it to the event.

It’s the first time the cer­e­mony has taken place with no sur­vivors there, he said.

Even so, around 30 peo­ple gath­ered to­gether to re­mem­ber the “date which will live in in­famy” that left 2,400 Amer­i­can ser­vice mem­bers dead.

Sev­eral were the chil­dren of sur­vivors who have since died.

Scott joked that he is the youngest Pearl Har­bor sur­vivor, as his mother was just a few months preg­nant with him in Hawaii when she and his fa­ther, Ma­rine L.J. Scott, watched the Ja­panese planes fly over their home early that Sun­day morn­ing.

“They saw the planes come over and my fa­ther, right away, said, ‘We don’t ma­neu­ver on Sun­days. We’re at war,’” he said.

Kevin Grif­fin, pres­i­dent of the chap­ter, spoke of his late fa­ther, Wayne Grif­fin, who was serv­ing aboard the USS Raleigh when the at­tack oc­curred.

The Raleigh was hit by a tor­pedo and the crew rushed to throw ev­ery­thing they could, from air­planes to an­chors, over the side to keep her from cap­siz­ing.

At the same time, other mem­bers of the crew took po­si­tion on the ship’s guns and took down five Ja­panese planes.

There were no deaths, though some of the crew were wounded, in­clud­ing Wayne Grif­fin.

“He car­ried shrap­nel near his heart for the rest of his life,” Kevin Grif­fin said.

Grif­fin said he hopes that with fewer than 2,000 Pearl Har­bor sur­vivors left, oth­ers will con­tinue to carry on the mem­ory of the at­tack.

“We’re here for one rea­son: be­cause we don’t want peo­ple to for­get,” he said. “We can never al­low our­selves to be caught by sur­prise again.”

JIM THOMP­SON/JOUR­NAL

A mon­u­ment stands at the New Mex­ico Vet­er­ans’ Me­mo­rial ded­i­cated by the Pearl Har­bor Sur­vivors As­so­ci­a­tion Chap­ter 1. The as­so­ci­a­tion has since dis­banded as sur­vivors age and die.

Kevin Grif­fin Sr., pres­i­dent of the Al­bu­querque chap­ter of Sons and Daugh­ters of Pearl Har­bor Sur­vivors, speaks about the ex­pe­ri­ences of his late fa­ther, Wayne Grif­fin, a Pearl Har­bor sur­vivor.

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