76 years later, Pearl Harbor survivor shares memories of attack
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. —
Thursday marks the 76th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.
Many lives were lost and many lives changed that day, and one man remembers it like it was yesterday.
Melvin "Bud" Kennedy, 94, was just 18 on the day the Japanese attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor.
"Well it was 24 hours of hell," said Kennedy.
He remembers the day vividly as he and another sailor tried to save others from the water.
"We were in a 40-foot motor launch and them kids was in the oil about two feet deep," Kennedy said.
He says because of the oil, sailors were drowning.
"Well I mean there was bodies in that junk and they couldn't get a breath. Terrible," said Kennedy.
They didn't give up.
"There was only two of us in that boat. We saved 100 people. I know we saved more but I'm just going to take 100," said Kennedy.
They worked until they were told to stop.
After the attack, he was only able to send a postcard to his family saying he survived.
"I didn't get back to my mother and dad for about a year. I went on around the world again," said Kennedy.
He said before he got home they hadn't heard much about the attack on Pearl Harbor.
"Oh mom and dad didn't pay much attention to it. They didn't have a radio," he said.
The soldier he worked with on Dec. 7, 1941 stayed his friend.
"Last year he died down here, a couple of towns south of here," said Kennedy.
He says he even sees other Pearl Harbor survivors once or twice a year.
"Now my wife is gone but she used to keep track of everybody," he said.
On Wednesday, Governor Pete Ricketts signed a proclamation at the capitol in Lincoln.
"We will proclaim December 7th as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day," said Gov. Pete Ricketts.
Three out of four of Nebraska's living Pearl Harbor survivors attended.
Bud was one of them.
"...which affirms our commitment to keep alive the memory of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that Sunday morning," said one woman.
It was Bud's first time ever to step foot in the Capitol.
He says he will always remember the attack that day but has no regrets.
"No I'd do it exactly like I had done before,"said Kennedy.
After meeting with the survivors, Governor Ricketts said, "It's humbling to think these men witnessed and were part of one of America's most historic and defining moments. It is a distinct honor to meet with them and sign this proclamation in celebration of their bravery."