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Pearl Harbor remembered by veterans
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Hawaii native Irene Perry tells her story of watching the December 7 bombing with her brothers from the rooftop of their home when she was only nine years old. - photo by GLENN KAHL
The Day of Infamy was not forgotten at Prestige Senior Living.

The East Manteca retirement center hosted a breakfast Tuesday in honor of the 2,402 American servicemen who died that day 69 years ago in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Prestige Senior Living had posted American flags around the entrance to their campus and provided a full course hot breakfast for their guests who arrived at 7:30 a.m.  Pastor Mike Dillman, Manteca’s strong advocate of patriotism, was diligent in talking with veterans and their family members.

Some 50 to 60 veterans and their spouses attended the event sharing stories their loved one has passed on to them regarding that day and the rest of World War II.  Excerpts from the late George Murphy’s first person account of being trapped below deck in the print shop after his ship was torpedoed were read to the group.

Murphy would survive the attack later in the conflict being wounded to return home, meet Eleanor Roosevelt,  and go on to become the longtime publisher of the Manteca Bulletin.

Irene Perry, a native of Hawaii, told of watching the bombing and torpedo runs from the tin roof of her home.  She and her brothers had climbed atop their home after hearing the explosions.   She was only nine years old at the time – her birthday only three days away.

She said her dad had been delivering bread to the military base at Pearl Harbor from Loves Bakery.   The attack began shortly before 8 o’clock. that Sunday morning.  Many of her cousins later buried the American dead at the Punch Bowl following the attack.  She added that the planes were flying so low they could see the pilots.  

Perry remembered her dad went into the National Guard and her three brothers joined the Air Force, the Army and the Marine Corps.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6311 Honor Guard made up of Commander Rodney Sevedge and Frank Sallee presented the colors for the flag salute by the veterans attending the breakfast.  Pastor Dillman offered a prayer to remember those who had gone before and had given their all to keep America free.

Sevedge told of his father Clyde, now 89, who served as a Gunner’s mate aboard the Pennsylvania having reported seeing the first bomb dropped in the middle of the deck on a nearby ship.  He was 20 years old at the time and now lives in Mariposa.

The executive director of Prestige Sunny Sundel kept her 12-year-old daughter Ashley home from her school classes briefly Tuesday so that she could experience the wealth of history to be heard at the morning breakfast.

U.S. Army recruiting Sgt. Donald Gray was present at the event with his wife Sylvia.  He was the only active duty military at the breakfast.
In an effort to help fading memories of 69 years ago a printed trivia quiz was given to the guests after breakfast asking for the answers of pertinent points in the World War II event.

First it asked what the Japanese Imperial Headquarters called the Pearly Harbor Attack.   The answer was Operation Z or the Hawaii Operation.

The second question asked how many enemy aircraft attacked the island that morning.  The correct answer was 353.

Third on the quiz questioned how many U.S. Navy battleships were either sunk or run aground during the operation.  The response should have been five.

And as for the number of American aircraft destroyed on the ground, the answer was 188.

For those who didn’t know or couldn’t remember, there were 2,402 killed in action from the attack that began at 7:48 a.m. taking a total of 90 minutes from start to finish.