Pearl Harbor: A Survivor on this 75th Anniversary

Midshipmen sing the Navy Hymn aboard the USS Arizona Memorial, commemorating those who died at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Over two thousand officers and crewman died in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
At 103, retired Navy Lt. James Downing is one of the remaining survivors.

In his book, “The Other Side of Infamy,” he recalls smoke from planes and bombs, jumping in the car to head for the base and hearing his wife shouting Deuteronomy 33:27: “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”

Downing memorized the names on the dog tags of the dead and burn victims. He said: “I wanted their families to know what their sons’ last days on earth were like…”

“The gesture wasn’t grand,” he said. “It was just something to do.”

While serving 24 years in the Navy, Downing became an original member of the Navigators in 1933, helping train men and women to memorize the Bible!


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