Sue Lindsey, 90, promised her husband she would always remember the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“My husband wanted me to remember that for him,” said Lindsey, of Victoria.

Lindsey’s husband, Gary Lindsey, was stationed in Hawaii when the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked Pearl Harbor 78 years ago. Her husband died about 31 years ago, and she still recognizes the day in his honor.

The widow was among half a dozen others who joined for lunch in recognition of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day just like they have for decades. The group met at the Bayside Seafood Restaurant and shared memories of their loved ones who survived that day in 1941.

Among the group sat World War II memorabilia and photos of their family members.

The group meets every year at the same restaurant on the same day because it’s where the local survivors of Pearl Harbor met, organizer Larry Chilcoat said.

Chilcoat is the son of Pearl Harbor survivor Joe Chilcoat.

“He had a bird’s-eye view of the attack,” he explained.

His father didn’t share much about his service or the attack that caused President Franklin Roosevelt to describe Dec. 7 as “a date which will live in infamy.”

Chilcoat said his father suffered from PTSD after the attack, but he taught Chilcoat the importance of the military and preparation.

“He instilled in me the spirit of always being ready,” he said. “If we’re not ready, we’ll be caught in a surprise again.”

It’s important to remember the day, Chilcoat said, because it was the first instance of terrorism on American soil.

“‘Terrorism’ was not in our vocabulary then, but it is now,” he said.

Chilcoat said it’s important to recognize Pearl Harbor and spread awareness of the events 78 years ago to avoid repetition. He wants to continue what the survivors of Pearl Harbor started and gather every year on the same day.

“It’s a legacy I try to proudly continue,” he said.

Samantha Douty is the education reporter at the Victoria Advocate. She grew up in Corpus Christi and graduated from UT-Arlington with a bachelor's in journalism.

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(1) comment

Martin Strarup

I was fortunate enough to be invited by D.D. Hill to the Pearl Harbor Survivor's group years ago at the Corral Restaurant where they met every year. I guess most of the survivors of that day are gone now but as long as the survivor's families and the citizens of the United States of America all remember, they will not be forgotten.

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