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Of the 16 million Americans who were in uniform at some point during World War II, no more than about 80,000 could give an eyewitness account from ground zero to VJ Day. They were the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who survived the attack that triggered America’s entry into the world’s first truly global war.
The Lilac City Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association had over 125 members at its height around the 50th anniversary of the 1941 attack.
The Patriot Guard Riders stood silently, their flags held aloft as a light rain fell at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Spokane Valley. They’d come to honor Charles Boyer, 95, who died April 15. As a 21-year-old sailor stationed at Naval Air Station Kaneohe, Boyer had earned membership into an exclusive club: the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.
The Patriot Guard Riders stood silently, their flags held aloft as a light rain fell at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Spokane Valley on Saturday. They’d come to honor Charles Boyer, 95, who died April 15.
When Isaac Liljenberg came across his brother’s collection of videos about World War II, it sparked an interest in him about those who had served “I wanted to meet a World War II vet,” said the 16-year-old. “I wanted to interview some people.”
When the nation commemorated Pearl Harbor Day last month, there was one less eyewitness to tell the tale of the surprise attack that awoke a sleeping giant on Dec. 7, 1941. Pearl Harbor survivor Jim Sinnott died Nov. 9, surrounded by his loved ones at the Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He was 87.
The number of Spokane-area Pearl Harbor survivors has dwindled to a handful as the nation marks the 68th anniversary of the attack that propelled it into World War II. But there was a time, Jim Sinnott recalls, when survivors were so plentiful he had five or six as co-workers at the local Federal Aviation Administration offices.