Finding new ways to remember Pearl Harbor 79 years later

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
pearl harbor

It was 79 years ago today, that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The attack, which pushed the United States into joining WWII, killed 2,400 Americans and left another 1,100 injured. For the first time, many who served, including those in Southwest Florida, will not get to honor those who died because of the pandemic.

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked,” said President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, during his address at the time.

Those words have become famous, now. And after the attack, Arnett Terrill was one of many who enlisted. He was only a teenager at the time.

“I only had a mother and dad. I was a momma’s boy… eighteen. I hadn’t been out of the cradle very long,” said Terrill, a WWII Naval veteran.

Terrill describes how he saw nothing but seas and ships, skies and planes for months at a time. “I had the submarines under me, aircraft above,” he said.

He became one of the young men who had the world on their shoulders. “I was awful busy,” said Terrill.

But, he is proud, too. “Here’s the type of navy I served in: We were there to win the war, we weren’t there to wear white hats and shiny boots, that’s the kind of people I served with,” Terrill said.

His youngest daughter, Darlene Kennedy, likes to reminisce with her dad about what it was like for him on the ship. “Wasn’t there a dog and monkey on the ship?” she asked. He responds, “I don’t know what happened to the monkey. He and I didn’t get along very well.”

Kennedy believes her dad’s “spunk” is what got him through tough times then and continues to help him now. “I really appreciate my dad for what he did for our country. He tried to help protect us. Make a difference,” said Darlene.

So this week, The Red Cross, police officers and sheriff’s deputies all came by to thank him for his service. “That was amazing to see how much that meant to him,” said Kennedy.

Terrill said he couldn’t believe it! “I didn’t believe it was happening to me. I was just another guy. I wasn’t nobody special,” said Arnett.

We think Arnett shouldn’t sell himself short, he helped make a difference.

When Arnett Terrill returned from serving, he was blessed to marry the woman of his dreams. They’re still together 71 years later.

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