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Pearl Harbor survivor planning big December trip

Posted at 6:04 AM, Nov 09, 2023

TEQUESTA, Fla. — This Veterans Day week, WPTV talked with one of the rarest military veterans alive.

102-year-old Harry Chandler of Tequesta is a Pearl Harbor survivor.

Navy veteran and WPTV anchor Mike Trim spoke with Chandler about his account of what happened Dec. 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked the U.S. Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

More than 2,400 people died.

The total amount of surviving Pearl Harbor survivors still alive in America isn’t officially recorded.

Chandler and his family are planning to travel to Pearl Harbor this December for the 82nd commemoration ceremony marking the date of the attack.

From Tequesta Terrace Senior Living, Chandler proudly walks around the building and up flights of stairs for exercise.

When asked by Trim about his memories of the day that will live in infamy, Chandler said, "Raised the flag and I looked up and saw a lot of planes and I said, oh, they're coming in from the states. Then I saw the explosion and the next thing you know, they got us in trucks and their taking us down to the harbor.”

Chandler was a Navy Corpsman.

In the the hours that followed, Chandler said he worked to save lives.

"It was hard. You know, you’re pulling the guys out of the water, they were just floating. The Arizona, watching the Arizona blow up, that will never leave my mind. Never," Chandler said. “People ask me, were you scared? I said, really and truly not until it quieted down. Then I got scared. I said, my God, I could have been killed. 

Chandler added that "The damage they did made the people in our country, hey we didn’t realize it was that bad, we’re going to war.”       

Now, 82 years later, Chandler stays busy.

He’s traveled to D.C. and seen the World War Two monuments. He was honored at a Panthers playoff game last season.

When thinking about traveling to Pearl Harbor in December, Chandler’s said, “I’ll be very happy to get out there but I think I’d see everything happening again. It’s a circle I’ve done and I’m going to get back to the top of that circle.”