Community gathers with survivors to reflect 73rd Pearl Harbor anniversary

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MISSION, Kan. – Dozens gathered at an area community center this weekend to reflect on the 73rd anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

People gathered at the Sylvester Powell Jr. Community Center in Mission, Kansas Sunday morning to reflect on the 73rd year since the Japanese bombed U.S. military forces in Hawaii.

While for most of us it’s just a lesson in a history book, the attack on Pearl Harbor is a vivid memory for those who were there and lived through it. Black and white images, tables of mementoes, and videos on screens brought the attack to life at Sunday’s reception.

Edmund Russell was a 24-year-old butcher in the Army Air Corps. Now, Russell is 97 and remembers the attack as though it just happened.

“I didn’t realize what was going on until these planes that had dropped their bombs started strafing. They were flying so low. They had the canopies open and you could see the grin on their face,” said Russell. “It moves me to see that people, even though they weren’t alive at the time, are interested in knowing what happened, and seeing some of us old codgers that are still around.”

Russell says he was planning a menu in the mess hall when he heard the first plane dive. He told FOX 4 he hid underneath a row of eucalyptus trees until the attack was over.

Two other Pearl Harbor survivors were also listed on the schedule to appear at Sunday’s event.