Pearl Harbor survivor: Right away, we knew our lives had changed - FOX 13 News

Pearl Harbor survivor: Right away, we knew our lives had changed

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

George Cass will never forget Dec. 7, 1941. How could he?

He was there at Pearl Harbor on the day the Japanese attacked and killed thousands of men and women – the moment the U.S. became very much a part of World War II.

"I was getting ready … I was shaving in the bathroom," said Cass, who was aboard the USS San Francisco that day. "We heard a lot of planes, which wasn't out of the ordinary because there were two airfields. When we heard these explosions, we ran out on deck."

From that vantage point, Cass watched history happen right before his eyes.

"We were dumbfounded. We couldn't understand," he said. "It stunned us. Who's doing this? Eventually we saw the orange…we realized they were Japanese planes."

He continued: "Right away, our lives had changed."

All across the country people are remembering the 71st anniversary of the attacks. At the Zephyrhills Museum of Military History, survivors of the attack gathered to reflect on that day.

Charles McClleland was another. He was a messenger aboard the USS Helena.

He said he watched as Japanese war planes bombed the airfield, and then began bombing the warships.

"As soon as I saw the planes, I knew what was happening," he said.

At a ceremony in Hawaii, a moment of silence was held at 7:55 a.m., the exact moment of the bombings. The Hawaii National Guard aircraft flew overhead a ceremony in a missing man formation, and Admiral Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, gave a keynote address.

FOX 13's Ken Suarez sat down and had conversations with McClleland and Cass. Click on the videos to hear their memories of that day.

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