HOUSTON, TX-- A surprise attack on America by one of our greatest enemies. And not 14 dead, but more than 2400. It happened 74 years ago when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. "A date which will live in infamy," declared President Franklin Roosevelt.
"It seemed like everybody was nonchalant, happy-go-lucky," says Floyd "Bud" Walker, a Navy veteran of World War II, describing the mood in America before the bombing. "That hit (and) the whole world changed."
Walker was just 15 at the time. He heard the news over the radio. "I was mostly aggravated because I couldn't go," he remembers, "I thought I'd go over and help win it."
Instead, he had to wait two years to join the Navy, but he had a friend stationed on the U.S.S. Arizona, one of the ships attacked. "He said he was out there taking a sun bath, when they came over. They started dropping those bombs and it blew him clear off the Arizona, out in the water. That's the only reason he was safe."
Once bud got in, he was part of the Amphibious Forces who took small boats out to provoke the Japanese. "We'd draw the fire and get them to get after us," explains the retired petty officer, 3rd class. "And as soon as we got them going, the big boys would shoot 'em then."
Walker says what is happening today with Syria and Isis strikes a familiar chord. "In the way Hitler used to take over a little group here, a little group there," he says, "before the war, World War II. It just bothers me a whole lot."
It bothers Vietnam vet Richard Voorhies, too. He's the commander at Walker's American Legion Post 560 in Garden Oaks. "I don't believe we're on the cusp of a world war," says Voorheis, "but we're on the cusp of a major conflict that we need to look hard at and win."
Bud offers a simple solution to the conflict,"It'd be a whole lot better if everybody said, 'Hey, just forget this thing and get along." He pauses a second to think, adding, "Just getting everybody together is the hard part."
Ain't that the truth!