Pearl Harbor survivor fights to remember December 7, 1941

WILMORE, Ky. (WTVQ)- Herman Horn survived the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941; now he’s fighting another battle to remember what happened that day.

At Thomson-Hood Veterans Center, a couple family members, a newspaper reporter, and a TV photojournalist surround Horn as he sits on a couch awaiting questions.

The first one comes.

“Mr. Horn, could you tell me, what are your memories of Pearl Harbor?”

After some thought, Horn comes back with a question of his own.

“Which one of them?”

Cindy Walton, Horn’s daughter is quick to remind the crowd of Horn’s condition. He’ll be 97-years-old in January, his eyesight is failing him, and he suffers from Lewy Body dementia which makes it difficult for him to “see things in his memory”, as Walton describes.

That makes it difficult for Horn to talk about the events of December 7, 1941 broadly, but he seems to recall very detailed bits from what he was doing. For Horn, the story starts there.

He says he had just been moved to Pearl Harbor before the attack.

“The day we moved into Pearl Harbor, that night is when the Japanese slipped in,” recalls Horn. “We didn’t know what they were doing when they first started firing and hitting us, but after we found out, when they came in we started blasting them.”

Horn remembers returning decades later to see what’s become a treasured site.

“All you see is skeletons of ships and that kind of stuff after they blew it up. It was pitiful.” Speaking of the day of the attacks, Horn says, “It’s one I’ll never forget.”

Something else Horn seems to remember is how close he became with his fellow survivors. Unfortunately, their numbers are dwindling. Walton says there will be only two that she knows of in attendance when Horn is honored on Wednesday at a special event.

Across the state, the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Association estimates there might only be a handful of survivors remaining. It’s chairperson, Don Dixon, hopes that as many as possible would be at the association’s event Wednesday and he hopes the public shows up as well to show support.

It’ll be held at noon Wednesday at the Oleika Shrine Temple, 243 Southland Drive, in Lexington. If you’re interested in attending, reservations are needed for the luncheon. You can contact Don Dixon (859) 277-5008 or Doyle Rambo (859) 536-6925 for for information.


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