Local WWII Vets Share Memories of Pearl Harbor

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Tomorrow marks the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. To commemorate the day, some World War II veterans shared their memories of December 7, 1941 during a visit to the Heinz History Center’s exhibit “Stars and Stripes: An American Story.”

They remember where they were and how they heard the news of the attack.

“I was coming out of a movie house back then,” WWII Veteran George Priatko explained, “and I stopped at a drug store and they said Pearl Harbor was invaded. That was about 8, 9-o’clock at night.”

“Came home from church,” WWII Veteran Albert Crawford told KDKA. “Going to eat lunch — we had a little radio in the kitchen; turned it on and they started talking about the attack on Pearl Harbor.”

Crawford said the number of casualties encouraged him to join the Navy that day. The North Side native was just 17-years-old.

“It’s a day that changed my life and millions of American lives,” Crawford added. “It was a life-changing day.”

While walking though the Heinz History Center exhibit, Crawford said he was surprised to see the changes that Old Glory has gone through over the years. “It’s amazing to me. I never realized all the changes the flag went through.”

There are nearly 200 historic flags in the History Center exhibit, each with special meaning — particularly to veterans like Albert Zimmerman. “We were always happy to see it and still today, the flag is very important.”

Besides checking out all the red, white and blue, the veterans shared stories of sadness and survival with one another. “It’s something I experienced and lived through,” Crawford added, “I would not want to take a chance on it again.”

RELATED STORIES/LINKS:
Photo Gallery: History Center Exhibit Celebrates The Flag
New Exhibit Celebrates The Stars & Stripes
More About the Exhibit, “Stars & Stripes: An American Story”
History Center Interview with Flag Expert Pete Keim
The Story of the American Flag (Western Pennsylvania History magazine)
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One Comment

  1. JESUS says:

    IT WAS ALL PLANNED BY THE ZIONISTS AND ROOSEVELT WAS IN ON IT JUST AS BUSH KNEW 9-11 WAS THE ZIONIST’S PLAN ALL ALONG. ALL ZIONISTS AND THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION SHOULD BE SUMMARILY HANGED FOR THE MASS MURDERS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS IN THE NAME OF OIL PROFITS.

  2. Teri Green says:

    Well I for one am very proud that my father served in Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Rigel on December 7, 1941-He was certainly a member of some of the bravest service men and women of a generation like no other. We should thank god for them and all others who serve this country EVERYDAY for the freedoms they protect us to have. This is a day to remember those that 70 years ago stood up for this country and those of you who don’t believe in the United States are certainly welcome to leave. May GOD BLESS OUR SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN!!

    1. Elizabeth Bloom says:

      Hi Teri,

      I had the honor of visiting Pearl Harbor for the first time this summer. Out of all the beauty of the islands, nothing impacted me quite like Pearl Harbor. You are absolutely correct that your father was a member of a very elite group, and I can only imagine how proud you are of your father and his service/sacrifices for our country.

      Pearl Harbor leaves you quiet, still, humble, perplexed, unsettled, grateful, and most of all proud. We will never forget.

      1. Teri Green says:

        Hi Elizabeth
        Thank you for your comment and kind words, was very sad to hear tonight that the Pearl Harbor Survivors have to end their group at the end of the year. I was born late in life to my father-after he had retired from 25 years of service in both the navy and army-he fought other battles in Germany and Korea, he was only 17 and had only been in the Navy for 7 months, when was at Pearl. I was only 20 when he passed and I have the honor of passing on his life stories to my children and friends. .I have never had the honor to visit Hawaii but hope someday I will be able to visit there.

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