Pearl Harbor survivors remembered (video)
Video: D. D. Hill, Pearl Harbor survivor
D.D. Hill slowly pulled the tattered scrap of yellow paper from his wallet.
On it, the names of fellow Pearl Harbor survivors, all since passed away.
"I think I've been in the presence of some very fine people," said the 90-year-old Hill, of El Campo, the lone remaining original member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Texas Chapter 1.
Larry Chilcoat, of Rockport, the son of Pearl Harbor survivor Joe Chilcoat, now leads the group that met Friday at The Corral in Victoria. It was the 15th year he has lead the meeting.
Chilcoat noted the passing of Bill Lockey, a Pearl Harbor survivor from Victoria who died Nov. 10.
"They are passing from us, but their memory must stay alive," Chilcoat said.
Chilcoat acknowledged that the day will come when no Pearl Harbor survivors will be in attendance.
"Because of age, illness and attrition, there will come a day when I'll stand up here and be asked, 'Why'd you call this meeting?' Because we can't forget," he said.
"We can't let this day pass without someone picking up the banner."
Hill said, even after 71 years, he is grateful that Dec. 7 is acknowledged as important.
"It always brings so many vivid memories to me. I appreciate the willingness of people to never forget things that need to be remembered," he said. "Some many fine people who can't be here today. Yet, they served their country, and we need to be in memory of them also."
Also among those in attendance was Sue Lindsey, widow of Pearl Harbor survivor Gary Lindsey.She and Chilcoat placed wreaths at the graves of 10 Pearl Harbor survivors in two Victoria cemeteries earlier Friday morning.
"Before Gary died, he made me promise to keep the association alive. I'm trying," Lindsey said.
Chilcoat said the challenge to keep the memory of Pearl Harbor and its veterans alive now falls to the descendents of the fallen.
"If we don't do this, we've failed. And we can't afford to do that," Chilcoat said.
In addition to Hill, Shiner's Ray Wiese, 96, is the other living Pearl Harbor survivor in the Crossroads. He did not attend the Friday luncheon.
Chilcoat said this generation owes a debt of gratitude to those who died at Pearl Harbor and those who survived the attack.
"The legacy of Pearl Harbor remains real today. America should not forget the day of infamy," he said. "They did not die in vain."
Veteran recalls how Pearl Harbor changed his life , click HERE
Here are links to previous videos and stories written in recent years about our local Pear Harbor survivors. One of them, William Lockey, died last month.
RAY WIESE, of Shiner
WILLIAM LOCKEY (died in Nov. 2012)
D.D. HILL, of El Campo