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One of the few Pearl Harbor survivors tells his story

6:24 PM, Dec 7, 2012   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - 71 years ago on Friday, a surprise attack on the United States changed history and brought the U.S. into World War II.   Now, on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, one survivor is worried about the growing misinformation about that historic day.

Each anniversary, the story 90-year-old Herb Elfring shares, becomes harder to find.

"What makes it different every year is the Pearl harbor survivors are depleting," says Elfring.

Elfring remembers the day, the hour, and the minute when the Japanese made a surprise attack.

"I was merely reading the bulletin board on the corner of our barracks when the first Japanese plane came over and strafed the camp. It only missed me by 15 feet," says Elfring.

Now, Elfring worries that younger generations don't even know what Pearl Harbor means.

"As time goes on, the real facts seem to get distorted,"says Elfring.

However, a ceremony at the Marine Training Center in Grand Rapids brought both young and old together.  A high school choir of home-schooled students sang the Star Spangled Banner. 

Bill Campbell has organized the event for 25 years.

"As Americans we need to remember, that's why I said we need to remember Pearl Harbor," says Campbell.

Elfring says it should bring a sense of pride for all Americans.

"The United States was on two fronts, one in the Pacific and one in the European front. They did one heck of a job in less than 4 years," says Elfring.

Campbell says three people from Kent County were killed during the Pearl Harbor attacks.

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