South Georgia war vets remember Pearl Harbor attack - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia war vets remember Pearl Harbor attack

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December 7, 2006

Albany - - On this 65th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, war veterans are taking time to remember that deadly day and the war that followed.

At 82 years old, Jim and Euris Tilton remember it like yesterday. Jim was already enlisted the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

"It just meant that things were going to get pretty exciting pretty fast after that."

It also meant he'd be thrust into World War II. He recalls being confined to his military base and intensely preparing for the worst.

"Before it had been kind of a run through, but after that, it was hard knocks."

Some 2,000 people died that day. Americans, everywhere united.

Jim's wife enlisted in 1945, as a result - a few years after the Pearl Harbor attack, but the same year President Roosevelt died and the war ended.

"I didn't go into the service until they started bringing the wounded back from overseas. The wounded weren't brought back right away. Most of them went to England, but they started bringing them back to the United States," Euris Tilton remembers.

Jim says a good thing that came out of the war was advancements in medical care.

"I'd lay out for three days with a bayonet in my leg and it was two more days before they got me back to the hospital. No questions asked, they were going to amputate my leg because it had gangrene at the time."

He says doctors did all they could to keep soldiers strong.

"I talked to my doctor into trying that brand new penicillin that just arrived in the ETO and it worked."

Today, both have a story to share to their children and grandchildren. Their experiences unite them. And as they think back on December 7th, 1941 they can't help but remember that strong U.S. patriotism.

"I'd like to see it re-kindled as it was in the 40's," Jim says.

To honor not just their service but all of those brave Americans who lost their lives on the front line.  

The Pearl Harbor attacks happened on a Sunday morning. Many U.S. vessels were undermanned, so the base wasn't able to defend itself effectively.

Almost 200 aircraft were destroyed. More than 2,300 military personnel were killed.

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