Posted: Dec 8, 2011 1:22 AM by Jim Hummel
Updated: Dec 8, 2011 1:23 AM
70 years since the attack which propelled America into World War II and forever altered the course of history, four Acadiana men who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor gathered to remember that day of infamy.
"It happened so fast, I didn't get scared until the next day," said Joe Richard, of Sunset. Richard was just a teenager back in December, 1941 and was stationed on the USS Rigel.
"At the time I was eating grapes," Richard said. "Then I happened to look out of the porthole and it was right across from where the Arizona was and I saw the smoke..."
Richard says he and fellow sailors aboard the Rigel were unable to fire on the Japanese and recalled feeling helpless.
"We could only do so much, I still [have] some friends who are still on the Arizona, and that's something you never forget."
Richard was joined by fellow Pearl Harbor survivors Bob Lowe, Douglas Harper, and Alex Taylor at a reception at Lafayette's Petroleum Club Wednesday night, in their honor. With first-hand accounts of Pearl Harbor becoming more rare as time goes on, the four men shared their experiences from that dark day so that future generations can remember and reflect.
"I grew up in a hurry, it made a man out of me," said Richard. "You just hope none of your kids or grandkids have to go through that."