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700 Club Interactive: Pearl Harbor - December 7, 2015

A Pearl Harbor survivor remembers the “Day of Infamy”. Read Transcript


WE WERE HAVING

BREAKFAST WHEN THE FIRST

BOMBS DROPPED.

Gordon: THE OLDEST

SURVIVING VET OF PEARL

HARBOR REMEMBERS THE TODAY

OF INFAMY.

HERE WE WERE WITH THE

ARIZONA BURNING LIKE A

VOLCANO.

Gordon: HEAR A WORLD

WAR II VET TELL THE STORY

OF COURAGE UNDER FIRE.

ON TODAY'S "700 CLUB

INTERACTIVE."

WELL, WELCOME TO "700 CLUB

INTERACTIVE."

ON THIS DAY, BACK IN 1941,

AMERICANS HUDDLED CLOSE TO

THEIR RADIOS.

THE FLASH REPORT: A SNEAK

ATTACK AGAINST THE U.S.

NAVAL BASE IN PEARL

HARBOR.

SOON THE MILITARY

RECRUITMENT OFFICES WERE

PACKED WITH BRAVE MEN AND

WOMEN WHO WANTED TO DEFEND

THEIR COUNTRY.

"REMEMBER DECEMBER 7th"

BECAME A RALLYING CRY

DURING WORLD WAR II.

AND NAVY LIEUTENANT JIM

DOWNING KNOWS WHERE HE WAS

ON THAT INFAMOUS DAY,

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE

ACTION.

Reporter: 7:55 a.m.

SUNDAY MORNING,

DECEMBER 7, 1941, PEARL

HARBOR, NEAR HONOLULU,

HAWAII, RETIRED U.S. NAVY

LIEUTENANT JIM DOWNING

REMEMBERS THAT DAY AS IF

IT WAS YESTERDAY.

I JUST WAS MARRIED FOR

FIVE MONTHS.

WE WERE HAVING BREAKFAST

WHEN THE FIRST BOMBS

DROPPED.

WE TURNED ON THE RADIO.

THERE IS A BOMBING OF

PEARL HARBOR.

Reporter: 200 MILES

OFF HAWAII, SIX JAPANESE

AIRCRAFT CARRIERS UNDER

ADMIRAL YAMAMOTO HAD LOST

350 AIRCRAFT LED BY A

COMMANDER IN A SURPRISE

ATTACK AGAINST THE PACIFIC

FLEET.

JIM SCRAMBLED FROM HIS

HOUSE TOWARDS HIS SHIP,

THE U.S.S. WEST VIRGINIA.

THE FIRST AIRPLANE THAT

CAME IN MY DIRECTION

WAS -- I THOUGHT IT WAS AN

ARMY PLANE.

AND THEN HE CAME IN FLYING

LOW AND SLOW.

HE HAD MACHINE GUNS.

AND BULLETS WENT OVER MY

HEAD.

THAT'S WHEN THE WAR BECAME

VERY PERSONAL.

Reporter:

SIMULTANEOUS AIR ATTACKS

WERE UNDER WAY AT SIX AIR

FIELDS.

THE FIRST WAVE OF ATTACK

AMONG BATTLESHIP ROW

CRIPPLED OR SUNK THE

MIGHTY PACIFIC FLEET.

WE WERE TIED UP WITH

THE OKLAHOMA IN FRONT OF

US AND THE ARIZONA BEHIND.

THE OKLAHOMA CAPSIZED AND

TURNED OVER.

SO HERE WE WERE, WITH THE

OKLAHOMA UPSIDE DOWN IN

FRONT OF US, AND THE

ARIZONA BURNING LIKE A

VOLCANO BEHIND.

Reporter: JIM FIRST

BOARDED THE FLAMING DECK

OF THE U.S.S. TENNESSEE

AND SLID DOWN HIS

FIVE-INCH GUN BARREL ON TO

THE WEST VIRGINIA.

MASSIVE STRIKES HAD

ALREADY SUNK THE WEST

VIRGINIA INTO THE SHALLOW

WATERS.

I TOOK A FIRE HOSE FROM

THE TENNESSEE AND TRIED TO

COOL THE AMMUNITION SO IT

WOULDN'T EXPLODE BECAUSE

THE FIRE WAS SPREADING TO

EVERYTHING ABOVE THE WATER

LINE.

Reporter: MILLIONS OF

GALLONS OF CRUDE OIL FROM

THE U.S.S. ARIZONA,

OKLAHOMA, CALIFORNIA, AND

FOUR OTHER DAMAGED OR

SINKING BATTLESHIPS

IGNITED THE WATER IN

FLAMES.

OIL IS LIGHTER THAN

WATER, SO IT STAYED AT THE

TOP.

AND TO SEE THE SAILORS

BEING BLOWN OVER THE SIDE

INTO THAT OILY WATER, SINK

COME UNDERNEATH, COME UP,

AND THE OIL WAS ON FIRE.

AND TO SEE THEIR BODIES

JUST BURN LIKE A HUMAN

TORCH -- THAT WAS THE

WORST EXPERIENCE I COULD

IMAGINE, IS SEEING THOSE

HUMAN TORCHES BURNING.

I RAN THE WHOLE GAMUT OF

EMOTIONS.

THE FIRST WAS SURPRISE.

AND THEN THERE WAS FEAR.

AND IT TURNED TO ANGER.

THAT OUR LEADERSHIP HAD

LET US DOWN.

AND THEN THERE WAS PRIDE.

TO SEE OUR MEN, WITHOUT

LEADERSHIP, INSTINCTIVELY

DOING THE RIGHT THING.

Reporter: AND AS THE

SECOND WAVE OF ATTACKS

SWOOPED IN ON THE U.S.S.

NEVADA, JIM SAYS HE FELT

PEACE WHILE FIGHTING THE

INFERNO.

I FELT LIKE, LORD, I'LL

BE WITH YOU IN A MINUTE.

I FULLY EXPECTED TO BE.

I HAD THE DEEPEST PEACE I

HAVE EVER FELT IN MY LIFE.

I THINK THAT WAS IT, I'M

GOING TO BE WITH YOU IN A

MINUTE.

Reporter: JIM'S FAITH

IN GOD DIDN'T BEGIN IN THE

HEAT OF BATTLE, EITHER.

YEARS EARLIER, ABOARD THE

WEST VIRGINIA, JIM AND

LIVED AND WORKED ALONGSIDE

A GROUP OF CHRISTIAN

SHIPMATES.

I WAS VERY UNHAPPY.

BUT VIRGIL WAS ONE IN THIS

GROUP.

SINGING A TUNE, FACE

SHINING, LOOKED LIKE HE

WAS THE HAPPIEST PERSON IN

THE WORLD.

I KNEW IT WAS CHRIST IN

HIM.

I WAS ATTRACTED TO CHRIST

BECAUSE OF THE HORRIBLE

THE LIFE.

AND I GAVE MY LIFE TO

CHRIST BECAUSE I WANTED

WHAT THESE OTHER PEOPLE

HAD.

Reporter: THEN AT THE

CRUCIAL HOUR WHEN LIVES

WERE AT STAKE, AND LATER

WHEN SHIPMATES NEEDED

COMFORT IN DEATH, GOD'S

PEACE LED HIM.

WE LOST 108 THAT

MORNING.

THEY WENT DOWN FIGHTING.

THEY WENT DOWN TRYING TO

PROTECT THE SHIP AND EACH

OTHER.

I FELT LIKE EVERYBODY WAS

A HERO.

Reporter: AFTER ALL

OF THE FIRES WERE OUT, JIM

RUSHED TO THE HOSPITAL.

OVER THREE AND A HALF

THOUSAND AMERICANS WERE

DEAD OR WOUNDED.

MY FRIENDS WERE DEAD OR

BURNED.

I TOOK A NOTEBOOK AND WENT

DOWN THE LINE AND SAID, IF

YOU GIVE ME YOUR PARENTS'

ADDRESS, I'LL DICTATE A

NOTE AND I'LL MAKE SURE

THEY GET IT.

THEY WERE SO OPTMISTIC.

THEY TOLD THEIR PARENTS,

DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT; I'LL

BE ALL RIGHT.

AND I KNEW MANY OF THEM

WOULD DIE THAT NIGHT, BUT

I LIKED THEIR OPTIMISM.

DECEMBER 7, 1941, A

DATE WHICH WILL LIVE IN

INFAMY.

Reporter: THE NEXT

DAY THE UNITED STATES

DECLARED WAR ON JAPAN.

THIS WAS GOING TO BE A

LONG WAR.

Reporter: BATTLES IN

THE PACIFIC THEATER ALONE

RESULTED IN 35 MILLION

CASUALTIES, 3% OF THE

WORLD'S OCCUPATION.

AMERICA USED TWO ATOMIC

BOMBS AGAINST JAPAN TO END

WORLD WAR II.

JIM WAS STATIONED IN

WASHINGTON, D.C. AT THE

WAR'S END, GRATEFUL THAT

THE 400 GUNNERY MEN WOULD

ENJOY FREEDOM ONCE AGAIN.

WE WERE TOO CLOSE FOR

DISASTER.

IT MUST NEVER HAPPEN

AGAIN.

Reporter: AT 102

YEARS OLD, JIM IS THE

SECOND OLDEST SURVIVING

VETERAN OF THE ATTACK ON

PEARL HARBOR.

MY MAIN ADMONITION OUT

OF PEARL HARBOR IS:

REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR.

KEEP AMERICA ALERT AND

STRONG.

BECAUSE I BELIEVE THAT

WEAKNESS INVITES

AGGRESSION.

AND WE MUST NEVER BE WEAK

AS A NATION, OR AGGRESSION

WILL RESULT.

Reporter: AFTER JIM

RETIRED FROM THE U.S.

NAVY, TO HIS SURPRISE HE

MET AND BEFRIENDED PEARL

HARBOR'S ATTACK COMMANDER.

I MET WITH HIM AND

TALKED WITH HIM ON SEVERAL

OCCASIONS.

A MISSIONARY GAVE HIM A

BIBLE, AND HE BECAME A

CHRISTIAN.

Reporter: THEY FAULT

AGAINST EACH OTHER IN WAR,

BUT THROUGH CHRIST

DISCOVERED A BROTHERHOOD

OF PEACE.

I HAVE A FAVORITE

VERSE, EZEKIEL 36: 23, GOD

HIMSELF SAID: "THE NATIONS

WILL KNOW ME WHEN THEY SEE

ME IN YOU."

Gordon: WHAT AN

INCREDIBLE STORY, AN

INCREDIBLE LEGACY.

TO SEE THE LIVES OF THE

GREATEST GENERATION

AMERICA'S EVER SEEN,

WALKED US THROUGH WORLD

WAR II.

UP NEXT YOU'RE GOING TO

MEET THAT JAPANESE

EVANGELIST.

AN AMERICAN PRISONER OF

WAR COMES FACE TO FACE

WITH THE MAN WHO

ORCHESTRATED THE PEARL

HARBOR ATTACKS.

YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT

HAPPENED NEXT.

HIS STORY IS UP AFTER

Gordon: WHEN STAFF

SERGEANT JACOB DESHAZER

HEARD ABOUT PEARL HARBOR,

HE GOT ANGRY, REALLY

ANGRY, AND HE VOWED TO

MAKE THE JAPANESE PAY FOR

THE ATTACKS.

HE WANTED TO KILL AS MANY

OF THEM AS POSSIBLE.

AFTER THE WAR, HE WENT TO

JAPAN WITH A DIFFERENT

MISSION ON HIS HEART.

WE INTERRUPT THIS

BROADCAST TO BRING YOU

THIS IMPORTANT BUL BULLETIN

FROM THE UNITED PRESS.

Reporter: THE

JAPANESE SNEAK ATTACK ON

PEARL HARBOR BROUGHT

AMERICA INTO THE WAR.

LESS THAN SIX MONTHS

LATER, A BAND OF B-25

CREWS BROUGHT VENGEANCE,

BOMBING TOKYO AND OTHER

CITIES.

JACOB DESHAZER WAS A

BOMBADIER, AND HE

UNLEASHED HIS HATRED WITH

EACH BOMB HIS DROPPED.

I DIDN'T CARE IF EVERY

PERSON IN JAPAN GOT KILLED

AT THAT TIME.

THERE WAS A BITTERNESS AND

RESENTMENT AND ANGER IN MY

HEART.

Reporter: THE

SERGEANT DIDN'T KNOW THAT

HIS DESTINY WAS TIED TO

THE PEOPLE HE WAS TRYING

TO DESTROY.

HIS PLANE RAN OUT OF FUEL

AND PARACHUTED INTO THE

HANDS OF THE JAPANESE.

HE SPENT MORE THAN THREE

YEARS IN A PRISONER OF WAR

CAMP, BEATEN, STARVED, AND

TORTURED.

HE WAS DYING OF DISPAIR,

LONELINESS, AND

BITTERNESS, WHEN HE WAS

GIVEN A BIBLE.

THEY SAID, IF YOU

CONFESS WITH YOUR MOUTH,

THE LORD JESUS, AND YOU

BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART,

YOU'LL BE SAVED.

IT JUST GOT ME RIGHT

THERE.

AND I KNOW THAT GOD

TOUCHED ME AND GAVE ME

THAT FAITH.

AND THAT'S A GIFT.

AND I GOT THAT GIFT OF

GOD.

AND I SENSED THE LIVING

PRESENCE OF JESUS.

IT WASN'T JUST WHAT THE

BIBLE SAID.

I KNEW THAT JESUS IS

ALIVE.

Reporter: EVEN THOUGH

HE WAS STILL A PRISONER,

HE WAS NOW FREE OF THE

HATRED THAT HAD RULED HIS

LIFE.

IT JUST SEEMED LIKE I

DIDN'T HAVE ANY MORE

BITTERNESS OR RESENTMENT

OR HATRED.

AND I LOVED THEM.

YOU KNOW, I BEGAN TO FEEL

SORRY FOR THEM BECAUSE

THEY WERE LOSING THE WAR

AT THAT TIME.

I COULD TELL.

Reporter: HE WAS SET

FREE IN AUGUST 1945.

THREE YEARS LATER HE

RETURNED TO JAPAN AS A

MISSIONARY.

IT IS REPORTED THAT

THOUSANDS OF JAPANESE CAME

TO CHRIST DURING HIS FIRST

YEAR AS A MISSIONARY.

BUT FOR HIM, NO CONVERSION

WAS MORE MIRACULOUS THAN

THIS MAN, MITZUA, THE

PILOT WHO LED THE JAPANESE

ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR.

HE WAS SO MOVED THAT HE

BOUGHT A BIBLE AND ASKED

JESUS TO COME INTO HIS

HEART.

AND LATER ON HE CAME

DOWN TO MY HOME, AND HE

SAID, I WANT TO BE A

CHRISTIAN.

AND SO HE GOT BAPTIZED.

AND THAT'S THE WAY IT

HAPPENED FOR HIM.

Reporter: TOGETHER

THE ONCE BITTER ENEMIES

MINISTERED THE GOSPEL IN

JAPAN, BOUND TOGETHER BY

THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST.

FUCHITA DIED IN 1967.

JAKJACOB DESHAZER WILL BE

REMEMBERED AS A HERO WHO

LOVED THE ENEMY FOR GOD'S

GLORY.

Gordon: JACOB PASSED

AWAY IN 2008.

AFTER HIS DEATH, HE WAS

NOMINATED FOR THE NATION'S

HIGHEST HONOR, THE

PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF

FREEDOM.

AND THE CONGRESSMEN

REPRESENTING HIS DISTRICT

CALLED HIM A GENUINE WAR

HERO WHO TOUCHED THE

ENTIRE WORLD WITH GRACE

AND HUMILITY.

RECENTLY WE MET WITH

ONE AIR FORCE MOTHER WHO

COULDN'T EVEN AFFORD BEDS

FOR HER CHILDREN.

Reporter: STAFF

SERGEANT BELINDA IS

HONORED TO SERVE HER

COUNTRY IN THE AIR FORCE.

SHE HELPS KEEP THE AIRS

FLYING SAFELY AS AN

AIRCRAFT SPECIALIST.

I'VE BEEN ABLE TO WORK

WITH A LOT OF DIFFERENT

SKILLED PEOPLE, AND IT HAS

TRULY BEEN AN HONOR TO

WORK WITH ALL FROM THEM.

Reporter: SHE STAYS

BUSY AS A SINGLE MOM TO

JACKSON AND PHOENIX.

MY KIDS ARE VERY

IMPORTANT TO ME.

THEY'RE THE MOST IMPORTANT

THINGS THAT I HAVE IN MY

LIFE.

Reporter: SHE ADMITS

IT IS TOUGH RAISING TWO

KIDS ON HER SALARY.

THE CHILDREN SLEEP IN

CRIBS BECAUSE SHE CAN'T

AFFORD BEDROOM FURNITURE.

AND SHE SLEEPS ON BORROWED

MATTRESSES.

AND EVERY OTHER MONTH, SHE

HAS TO WORK A WEEKEND, BUT

THE AFFORDABLE DAYCARE

CENTER IS CLOSED ON THE

WEEKEND, AND SO SHE

DRIVERS AN HOUR AND A HALF

TO DROP HER KIDS AT HER

COUSIN'S.

THE EVENINGS ARE HARD.

IT IS HARD NOT TO HAVE

THAT TIME WITH THEM.

INSTEAD THEY'RE WITH A

FAMILY MEMBER WHILE I HAVE

TO WORK.

Reporter: CBN'S

"HELPING THE HOMEFRONT"

LEARNED OF HER SITUATION

AND TEAMED UP WITH A LOCAL

CHURCH IN WASHINGTON TO

GET HER SOME HELP.

PASTOR JOHN SHIRE HANSON

TOLD HER CBN WAS PAYING

FOR WEEKEND CHILD CARE FOR

TWO YEARS.

IT WILL BE AN

OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO SEE

YOUR KIDS IN THE EVENINGS

ON YOUR WORK WEEKENDS.

OH!

AND WE JUST HOPE WE CAN

CONTINUE TO HAVE YOU IN

OUR MIDST AND EXTEND YOUR

CIRCLE OF SUPPORT.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

YOU'RE VERY WELCOME.

Reporter: WE TOOK

BELINDA TO A LOCAL

FURNITURE STORE AND THEY

SURPRISED HER WITH FULL

BEDROOM FURNITURE FOR HER

FAMILY, A FULL SUITE FOR

HERSELF, A GIRL'S SET FOR

PHOENIX, AND A BIG BOY'S

SET FOR JACKSON.

THEY DONATED MOST OF THE

FURNITURE, WHILE CBN

PICKED UP THE TAB FOR THE

REST.

I'M TRULY GRATEFUL FOR

"HELPING THE HOMEFRONT."

IT IS AN AMAZING PROGRAM.

AND I REALLY HOPE THAT

THIS PROGRAM CAN CONTINUE

TO HELP OUR MILITARY

FAMILIES IN NEED.

THANK YOU.

Gordon: WE WANT TO

HELP MILITARY FAMILIES.

SO OFTEN THEY DON'T GET

RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR

SERVICE.

JUST IMAGINE ONE OF THE

PARENTS BEING AWAY ON

MULTIPLE TOURS OF DUTY.

HOW DO YOU COPE AS A

FAMILY?

HOW DO YOU PROVIDE?

HOW DO YOU DO THINGS?

WE WANT TO HONOR THEIR

SERVICE BECAUSE THEY'RE

SERVING AS WELL.

IF YOU WANT TO BE A PART

OF IT, IF YOU WANT TO BE A

PART OF HELPING THE

HOMEFRONT, WHERE WE SUPPLY

AID TO MILITARY FAMILIES,

ACTIVE DUTY, WHO ARE IN

NEED, AND IN NEED OF

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE, WE

ALWAYS WANT TO WORK

THROUGH THEIR LOCAL

CHURCHES SO THEY CAN COME

INTO A COMMUNITY THAT

SUPPORTS THEM, THAT

ENCOURAGES THEM, AND LET

THEM KNOW THEY'RE NOT

ALONE IN THIS.

WE'RE WITH THEM.

IF YOU WANT TO BE A PART

OF IT, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO

IS CALL US.

THE NUMBER IS ON THE

SCREEN: 1-888-777-1999.

OR YOU CAN WRITE TO

HELPING THE HOMEFRONT,

VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA,

23463.

AND IF YOU LOG ON TO

cbn.com, ON THE GIVING

PAGE YOU'LL FIND A PLACE

WHERE YOU CAN DESIGNATE

YOUR GIFT TO "HELPING THE

HOMEFRONT."

EITHER WAY, WHETHER IT IS

A PHONE CALL, DOING IT ON

THE INTERNET OR WRITING

US, SUPPORT OUR MILITARY

FAMILIES.

BE A PART OF IT.

1-800-759-0700.

1-888-777-1999.

COMING UP, TWO BROTHERS

FROM THE GREATEST

GENERATION WHO BOTH FOUGHT

TO DEFEND OUR FREEDOM.

A JAPANESE TRIP, WE'RE

GOING TO WHIP THEM IN A

HURRY AND THIS WILL BE

OVER BY SPRING.

EVERYBODY HAD THE SAME

PATRIOTIC FEELING.

NOBODY TRIED TO JUMP SHIP.

Gordon: STAY TUNED AS

WE HONOR TWO AMERICAN

HEROS, JIM AND SAM, AFTER

THIS.

Gordon: WE WANT TO

SHOW YOU THE STORY OF TWO

VETERANS.

BOTH BROTHERS WHO SERVED

DURING WORLD WAR II.

THEY'RE BOTH NOW IN THEIR

90s, ACTIVE AND SPRY.

AND THEY'RE EXTRAORDINARY

EXAMPLES OF WHAT IT HAS

BECOME TO BE KNOWN AS THE

GREATEST GENERATION.

Reporter: IT HAS BEEN

70 YEARS SINCE WORLD WAR

II CAME TO A CLOSE.

THE WAR IS OVER.

PEACE HAS COME.

Reporter: LESS THAN

ONE MILLION OF THE

16 MILLION AMERICANS WHO

SERVED IN THE WAR ARE

ALIVE TO TELL ABOUT IT.

BUT IT TOOK THE EFFORTS

AND SACRIFICES OF AN

ENTIRE GENERATION TO BRING

AMERICA VICTORY.

A FACT MADE CLEAR AT THIS

V.E. DAY COMMEMORATION.

WE ARE HERE TODAY TO

SALUTE THOSE OF THE WORLD

WAR II GENERATION WHO

HELPED SAVED THE WORLD

FROM TYRANNY.

Reporter: THEY'RE

OFTEN REFERRED TO AS

AMERICA'S GREATEST

GENERATION.

RECENTLY WE SPOKE WITH TWO

OF THEM.

BROTHERS JIM AND SAM

EVANS.

JIM IS THE OLDER OF THE

TWO, THE SPRY 96-YEAR-OLD

STARTS HIS DAY WITH HIS

COMPANION OF MANY YEARS, A

CHOCOLATE LAB NAMED EASY.

HE'S MY BUDDY.

I'VE GOT TO KEEP HIM

AROUND.

HE WAKES ME UP EVERY

MORNING.

Reporter: SAM WILL

SOON TURN 94.

HIS DAILY ROUTINE STARTS

WITH A POT OF COFFEE.

THEY GREW UP IN THE NAVY

TOWN OF NORFOLK, VIRGINIA.

THEY BOTH REMEMBER THE

JAPANESE ATTACK ON PEARL

HARBOR.

JIM WAS WITH A BUDDY WHO

SERVED IN THE NAVY.

AND IT CAME OVER THE

RADIO, AND IT INSTRUCTED

HIM TO GET BACK TO THE

SHIP.

I THINK EVERYBODY WAS MAD.

I DON'T THINK ANYBODY HAD

ANY FEAR OF IT.

IT WAS A VERY UNEASY

PERIOD FOR EVERYBODY.

THE JAPANESE COUNTRY,

WE'RE GOING TO WHIP THEM

IN A HURRY AND THIS IS

GOING TO BE OVER BY

SPRING.

AND WE FOUND OUT WE WERE

WRONG.

Reporter: THEY SOON

FOUND OUT THAT THE TRADE

SKILLS THEIR DAD TAUGHT

THEM WOULD BE CRITICAL IN

THE WAR EFFORT.

FORTUNATELY, FROM THE

KIND OF RAISING JIM AND I

GOT, WE COULD DO

ELECTRICAL WORK AND

MACHINE SHOP WORK AND

ELECTRICAL REPAIRS.

Reporter: SAM

VOLUNTEERED FOR THE COAST

GUARD IN MAY OF 1942.

HE SERVED AS A MACHINIST

UNTIL THE END OF THE WAR.

I WAS PART OF THE

ADMIRAL STAFF, JUST TO BE

THERE AND REPAIR ANYTHING

ON THE FLOTILLA THAT WENT

BAD.

Reporter: EVEN BEHIND

THE LINES, THERE WAS

ALWAYS UNCERTAINTY AND

DANGER, ESPECIALLY ON A

SMALL ISLAND OFF THE COAST

OF IWO JIMA.

SAM SAYS HIS FAITH IN GOD

CARRIED HIM THROUGH DURING

THAT TIME.

I COULDN'T HAVE GOT

ALONG WITHOUT IT.

Reporter: JIM WORKED

IN THE NAVAL SHIPYARD FOR

MOST OF THE WAR.

LIKE MILLIONS, HE FELT HE

DID HIS PART TO SUPPORT

THE COUNTRY.

EVERYBODY WANTED TO DO

WHAT THEY COULD FOR THE

WAR EFFORT.

THOSE WHO COULD BOUGHT WAR

BONDS AND WORKED IN THE

DEFENSE INDUSTRY

EVERYWHERE THEY COULD.

I WAS IN THE NAVAL YARD

AND I WORKED SEVEN DAYS A

WEEK.

AND FOR A LONG PERIOD IT

WAS 12 HOURS A DAY.

Reporter: JIM JOINED

THE NAVY IN 1944 AND WAS

ABOARD THE NEWLY REPAIRED

U.S.S. CALIFORNIA WHEN SHE

RETURNED TO PEARL HARBOR.

IT WAS A FLOTILLA OF

FOUR BATTLESHIPS.

AND 10 DESTROYERS AND

BOATS FOR ESCORT.

ALL OF THE BATTLESHIPS HAD

BEEN SUNK AT PEARL AND

RAISED AND REPAIRED ON THE

WEST COAST.

AND THEY ALL WERE SENT

BACK AT THE SAME TIME.

WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE

ON DECK, BUT I SNEAKED UP

AND GOT A CHANCE TO SEE

THE BIG GUNS FIRED.

EVERYBODY HAD THE SAME

PATRIOTIC FEELING.

NOBODY TRIED TO JUMP SHIP.

Reporter: FINALLY THE

WAR WAS OVER, AND MILLION

OF SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN

RETURNED HOME.

FOR MANY, THERE WAS LITTLE

FAN FAIR.

I DON'T REMEMBER ANY

RECOGNITION WHEN I CAME

HOME.

NOBODY PAID ANY ATTENTION

TO IT.

THERE WERE SO MANY PEOPLE

COMING HOME.

YOU JUST COULDN'T HAVE A

PARADE FOR EVERY GROUP

THAT CAME IN.

Reporter: NOT ONES TO

COMPLAIN, THEY WENT ON

WITH THEIR LIVES.

SAM MARRIED OLLIE MAE AND

HAD THREE CHILDREN AND

ENJOYED 64 YEARS OF

MARRIAGE BEFORE HER DEATH.

LATER HE MARRIED MARGARET,

WHO PASSED AWAY IN 2013.

JIM, WHO ALSO IS A

WIDOWER, WAS MARRIED

NEARLY 60 YEARS TO ANNIE,

AND THEY HAD TWO CHILDREN

AND SIX GRANDCHILDREN.

TODAY THE EVANS' BROTHERS

ARE DOING JUST FINE.

THEY'RE BOTH TAKING CARE

OF THEMSELVES, LIVING IN

THEIR OWN HOMES, WORKING

IN THEIR SHOPS.

SAM CAN STILL HANDLE A

LATHE AND FIX ALL MANNER

OF THINGS.

AFTER 89 YEARS, JIM IS

STILL RUNNING THE FAMILY

BUSINESS WITH EASY BY HIS

SIDE.

THE DOCTOR SAID

WHATEVER I'M DOING, KEEP

DOING IT.

I LIKE MY WORK AND I DON'T

WANT TO RETIRE.

*

Reporter: IT'S THAT

SAME SPIRIT THAT REMINDS

US OF THE VALOR AND

SACRIFICES OF THE MILLIONS

OF AMERICANS WHO WORKED

AND FOUGHT FOR OUR

FREEDOM, WHICH ISN'T FREE.

ONE OF THE REASONS WE

ADMIRE AND LOVE THAT

GENERATION SO MUCH IS NOT

ONLY WHAT THEY DID FOR US

BETWEEN 1941 AND 1945, BUT

THE EXAMPLE OF HOW THEY

HAVE LIVED THEIR LIVES

SINCE THEN.

THAT IS THE GREATNESS AND

GRANDEUR OF THEIR

GENERATION.

[APPLAUSE]

Reporter: AS FOR JIM

AND SAM, THEY FINALLY GOT

THE RECOGNITION THEY

DESERVED.

IN MAY 2014, THE HONORS

FLIGHT ORGANIZATION

CELEBRATED THEM AND THEIR

IT WAS THE BEST THING

THAT HAPPENED TO ME.

EVERYWHERE WE STOPPED, WE

WERE CONGRATULATED AND

THANKED FOR OUR SERVICES.

WE WERE TREATED FIRST

CLASS EVERYWHERE WE WENT.

IT KIND OF PUT A LUMP

IN MY THROAT.

SEEING LITTLE BOY SCOUTS

AND GIRL SCOUTS, 5:00 AND

THE MORNING, COME OUT

THERE TO WELCOME US.

ALL OF THE EFFORT TO HONOR

US -- IT'S A LOT.

US -- IT'S A LOT.

Gordon: IF YOU'RE AN

ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY OR IF

YOU'RE A VETERAN, THANK

YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.

THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU

DID.

THANK YOU FOR THE

SACRIFICE THAT YOU MADE SO

THAT OTHERS COULD BE FREE.

IT'S A WONDERFUL LEGACY.

AND I LOVE WHAT THEY SAID

AT THAT MEMORIAL, THAT IT

IS NOT JUST THE TIME OF

SERVICE THAT COUNTED, IT

WAS THEIR LIVES

AFTERWARDS.

THEIR LIVES OF INTEGRITY.

THEIR LIVES OF SERVICE TO

THEIR COUNTRY THAT WENT

FORWARD INTO CIVILIAN

LIFE.

THAT'S WHAT MADE THEM THE

GREATEST GENERATION THAT

OUR NATION HAS EVER SEEN.

WE NEED TO RETURN TO THAT.

WE NEED TO RETURN TO THAT

SENSE OF DUTY, OF

FIDELITY, AS WE FACE AN

UNCERTAIN TIME TODAY AND A

VERY UNCERTAIN ENEMY.

HOW DO WE FIGHT AGAINST

TERRORISM?

WELL, WE FIGHT AGAINST

TERRORISM BY HOLDING TRUE

TO OUR PRINCIPLES, TO WHAT

WE BELIEVE IN, THAT

FREEDOM IS WORTH FIGHTING

FOR.

LIBERTY IS WORTH FIGHTING

FOR.

LET US NEVER FORGET.

WE LEAVE YOU WITH THESE

WORDS FROM EXODUS: "THE

LORD HIMSELF WILL FIGHT

FOR YOU.

JUST STAY CALM."

IN THESE UNCERTAIN DAYS,

STAY CALM.

WAIT ON THE LORD AND LET

HIM FIGHT FOR YOU.

GOD BLESS YOU.

WE'LL SEE YOU AGAIN.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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