100-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor attends Wilmington ceremony


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Friday marked the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and remembrance ceremonies are happening all over the country, including right here in the Cape Fear.

“Nothing glamorous, nothing Earth shaking. I just happened to be at Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack,” said 100-year-old Harold Garrish.

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Garrish saw the attack on Pearl Harbor firsthand. He says it started off like any other day.

“We all had Sunday off, and the biggest problem was what to do with it,” said Garrish.

Garrish had no idea that his life and the world would be forever changed that day.

“He was awakened by the noise of the attack, came running out of his quarters on Ford Island, and looked over at the battleship Arizona, and saw the bomb hit,” said World War II Wilmington Home Front Heritage Coalition chairman Wilbur Jones.

Each year, Garrish attends a ceremony of remembrance in Wilmington on the anniversary of the attack.
After 20 years of hosting the event, Jones says they decided to switch things up, with a Hawaiian theme.

“The setting is 1941, December the 6th, the night before the attack,” said Jones. “It’s the last night of peace for the United States.”

After a ceremony honoring survivors and victims of the attack, including three local men who were killed, dozens of attendees were able to take swing dancing lessons, and jitterbug the night away.

Jones says we must never forget what happened that day 77 years ago.

“It’s a lesson that we must learn from our national security standpoint, we never must let our guard down and be caught unaware again.”

Jones says there was another survivor who was supposed to attend, but he got sick and was not able to make it.