Two survivors of Pearl Harbor showed up in Little Rock on Dec 7, 2011 for the rememberance. Here is a portion of an article from Pittsburgh Tribune-Review :
Dwindling number of Pearl Harbor survivors recall that fateful day
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Most Western Pennsylvanians who survived the “date which will live in infamy” are in their late 80s or early 90s. Here are a few of their stories about that day:
Floyd Laughlin of McDonald
Ten days after Floyd Laughlin of McDonald married his wife, Dorothy, on May 31, 1941, he headed for training in California before his assignment at Fort Kamehameha in Pearl Harbor.
That Dec. 7, Army Cpl. Laughlin was eating breakfast when a plane crashed into a truck outside the mess hall. He and his comrades took cover under a porch as planes flew overhead.
“All you could do was stand and watch,” said Laughlin, 94. After the attacks, he said, “everything was blacked out.”
In Ohio, where Dorothy worked at her uncle’s gas station, she didn’t hear from her husband for two weeks after the attacks. It cost him $25 for a three-minute phone call to tell her he was safe.
He came home in 1945 and worked at the former American Cyanamid chemical plant in Bridgeville until retiring in 1981.
The couple has two sons and six grandchildren. Laughlin jokes that they stayed together for so long simply “because she never left.” Dorothy, 93, laughs and kisses his cheek.
A former president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Laughlin has returned to Hawaii five times. In his wallet, he carries a worn photo of himself in Pearl Harbor. Tucked behind it is one showing the youthful faces of him and his wife.
Bernard Ordos of West Mifflin
Bernard Ordos, 92, thinks about Pearl Harbor every day.
Near his living room chair in his West Mifflin home, a photo in an album shows him as a uniformed private, relaxing with his military buddies. He has looked at it hundreds of times, said his wife, Betty, 88.
Pvt. Ordos was waiting to be relieved of guard duty on the Navy base near Schofield Barracks when the planes attacked.
He took cover under a stack of mattresses when the first low-flying plane came into sight.
“I could see it plain as day,” he said. “I don’t know why he didn’t come down and machine-gun me.”
His family, including his bride, did not know that Ordos survived unhurt; they could not reach him for more than a week. Betty finally spent more than $50 to call Hawaii.
Weeks afterward, the Army sent Ordos to the Gilbert Islands, where he and fellow soldiers relieved Marines who captured the area from the Japanese.
He came home to work in the mills for 35 years. He and Betty, married 71 years, have three children, three grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Ordos, who said he saw too many aircraft leave for missions and never return, hasn’t boarded a plane since the war.
Staff writer Rossilynne Skena contributed to this report
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