Attack on Pearl Harbor remembered
Each year, Dec. 7 is remembered by many just as it was described at the time by President Franklin Roosevelt: "A day that will live in infamy." On Dec. 7, 1941 America lost many brave men, serving in the US Navy in 1941, when many lost their lives during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Cedric Stout, 85, had been in the Navy and survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was 17-years-old in Opelousas, La, when he thought he made a good decision.
"They were fixing to draft me, so I joined," he said. He thought the Navy was the easiest branch he could get into, so he joined on March 23, 1941. He went to boot camp in San Diego. He knew Europe was involved in a war and he was glad he was going out in the Pacific Ocean, to a beautiful paradise called Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands.
"We were having a ball," he said about the seven months he spent there before Dec. 7.
He was on the USS Utah and the ship would sail out every week so planes could practice bombing.
The easy living ended on Sunday morning, Dec. 7, when the Japanese attacked. Stout heard the noise, got out of bed and looked out of the bulk hole. A bullet flew past his head.
"Everybody was running around," he said. The Japanese, from the attack planes, were shooting men as they came on deck.
He knew he had to get off the ship and somehow, managed to run under a pier, where he hid. Half of his ship sank.
"They didn’t know what to do with us after that," he said.
"It went on about seven hours before it finally cleared up," he said about the attack.
The attack led the United States officially into World War II.
Stout was soon assigned to the USS Detroit and went to Australia. He was once assigned to a landing craft.
On the invasion of Saipan, his boat was sunk, and he was picked up by another ship. After the war, he was discharged and he married. He ended up in Port Arthur, where he first drove a city bus, and then worked 35 years for the Price Cigar and Candy Co.
For a number of years, he has lived in Bridge City.
Stout said he was invited to a reunion and ceremony at Pearl Harbor, but he has never returned to the site of the attack.
The attack on Pearl Harbor marked the beginning of 4 years of America’s involvement in the Pacific and European Theaters of WWII. During the war nearly 7,000 Davidson County men and women served their country in the military, and 186 lost their lives. During December we remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.