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MD Pearl Harbor Survivors Dwindling

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By Jonathan Wilson

Clarence J.M. Davis, the State Chairman of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, was just 18-years-old when the attack happened. "I was looking out a porthole and I saw this huge explosion," says Davis.

Davis says when it first started, he thought it was probably an accident or a training maneuver gone wrong. It was more than that, of course, it was the event that pulled the nation into a World War.

Robert Van Druff was on the USS Aylwin at the time; he says Pearl Harbor was nothing like the terror of combat he faced many times after that day in 1941. "Pearl, it was just surprising," says Van Druff. "You weren't scared, you were just astonished about what was going on. Altogether different," says Van Druff.

Only two other Pearl Harbor survivors joined Davis and Van Druff at today's wreath laying ceremony at the Maryland WWII memorial. Many are too ill or weak to attend.

Davis says losing friends to illness and old age is harder than recounting the chaos of the attack. "Its hard to talk about it sometimes, but what hurts the most is when you have to go to the funerals. It hurts," says Davis.

Eight members of the Maryland Pearl Harbor Survivors Association died this year.


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