My husband’s grandfather is a Pearl Harbor Survivor. He was 19 and a U.S. Navy Gunners Mate, First Class aboard the USS Honolulu. Here in his own words is his description of what he remembers from that day, December 7, 1941.
“I was washing down the deck when suddenly I heard planes overhead firing on ships in Pearl Harbor. Total confusion reigned. One plane released a bomb that hit only fifteen feet from where I was standing. It hit the edge of the dock and exploded under water making a large hole in our bow. I was sprayed with oily water, and everyone was running in different directions looking for something to shoot at. We were tied to the dock and the USS Saint Louis was tied outboard of us. We threw the line loose so she could get underway. Planes were flying over our fantail with torpedoes and our crew was firing shells, which were sometimes landing over in Honolulu. They didn’t attack the sub base or the tankers, which probably saved many lives”.
Russell Day spent the rest of WWII on board ships fighting the Japanese on the
Pacific Ocean. He saw a lot of battles and many of his buddies died. In all he served in the U.S. Navy for seven years. After the war he came home, worked hard, had three children with his wife Ruth, built two homes for his family, and rarely talked about his experiences. He lives his life quietly, steadfast and hard working. He is retired now but he is still constantly working and always giving. He was six grandchildren and four great grandchildren who are all very blessed to call this Hero,
“grandpa”. He doesn’t consider himself a hero, true heroes never do, but he stayed cool under fire, stayed at his position, remembered his training, and followed orders. He risked his life to serve our country. Then he came home and continued to serve both his family and his neighbors. Although he rarely talks about what happened or what he did he has always traveled to Pearl Harbor Reunions, he is part of Pearl Harbor Groups, and several years ago he went on a Honor Flight to D.C. to see the WWII Memorial. He is 89 this year and he will always remember. Thank you Grandpa Russ for your faithful service and the legacy of loyalty you have given to your descendants.