COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - We can read the books and we can watch the documentaries, but it's difficult, if not impossible, for the vast majority of Americans to truly understand the harrowing events that took place on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor. Fortunately for those of us living in the Inland Northwest- there's still a living reminder.
"I thought it was the Navy practicing like everybody did but they were bombing the airfields first," explained former Marine Ray Garland.
76 years ago, Garland was stationed on the USS Tennessee, which gave him a front row seat to one of the bloodiest days in American military history.
"The Arizona was directly behind us, so when it blew up, naturally I saw that," described Garland.
Garland now lives in Coeur D'Alene, as one of the few Pearl Harbor Veterans remaining in the country, and the only survivor known of in the area.
"When you get to be 95, you get to be the last one," said Ray.
These days, as you can imagine, every time the "day that lives on in infamy," comes around, Ray is a busy man. After an honorary luncheon, he was escorted to the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena and recognized by a color guard, other veterans, and many members of the community who wished to pay their respects.
"I think the Lilac City has patriotism in it's DNA," said Brian Newberry, who helped organize the event. "You see it every year."
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