One of the surviving members of America’s Greatest Generation was laid to rest at the site of one of the deadliest attacks on American soil, the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor.
Raymond Haerry was only 19 years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese on December 7, 1941. He and the crew of the USS Arizona were brutally bombed by the enemy and many soldiers lost their lives that day. Haerry survived, but the day has haunted him ever since. As a matter of fact, Haerry never returned to Hawaii while he was alive because of the painful memories, but he did want to be buried with his crew mates when he died.
That wish came true as Haerry’s family made it happen.
Haerry’s son, who couldn’t make the trip due to his medical condition, gave an account of what his father went through to save himself through a series of questions he asked over the past 50 years. What a story!
Source: ABC News
Haerry was trying to get ammunition when a large bomb detonated, igniting fuel and powder magazines, Haerry Jr. told The Associated Press in October. Most of the bow was instantly separated and the ship was lifted out of the water.
Haerry Jr. said his father swam through flaming waters, sweeping his arms in front of him to push the flames away. He shot at Japanese planes from shore. Later, he helped retrieve corpses from the harbor.
The ship lost 1,177 men, nearly four-fifths of its crew. At first, Haerry’s family was surprised by his request to be laid to rest there, but soon they understood.
“That brotherhood doesn’t go away and as he got closer to the end of life, it resonated with him,” Marino said. “He didn’t want to see the site or relive that disaster, but he wanted to relive that camaraderie.”
Stories like this make me choke up because I understand the lifestyle of serving one’s country and defending it through war. I salute Haerry Sr. and his family for their commitment to defending this nation and making sure their father’s wish was carried out.
He returns to his shipmates and that’s what he’s always wanted. That is a hero!
What do you remember about the Greatest Generation? What is your favorite story? Add your comments below.