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Local WWII Vets Share Memories of Pearl Harbor

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(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

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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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