Pearl Harbor survivor recalls historic day 72 years ago

CHARLESTON, SC (WCIV) -- Saturday marks the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The surprise attack by the Japanese catapulted the country into World War II.

"December 7th, 1941 a date that will live in infamy," said President Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the surprise attack.

Those words are even more chilling for a man who was there the day the Japanese attacked.

"I was sitting on my bunk putting on my shoes," recalled Pearl Harbor survivor, David "Buck" Morris. "I heard an explosion in the distance and didn't think too much, and a few seconds later I heard another one."

"A sailor stuck his head down the hatch and said, 'The Japs are attacking.'"

Pearl Harbor survivor Buck Morris may be 91-years-old but it's not hard for him to go back in time to when he was just a young 18-year-old serviceman.

"By the time I reached my battle station it looked like the whole Naval base was on fire," he said.

Morris worked as a signalman on the destroyer, USS Phelps, and says when the attack happened all he could think about was doing his job.

"People ask me, 'Oh were you scared?' I guess I was but I didn't have time to get scared -- I was reading those signals," he said. "I had a job to do, and fortunately we weren't hit and it didn't dawn on me the danger we were in."

Luckily for Morris, unlike thousands of others, the surprise attack in Hawaii was not the end of his story.

72 years later, Morris says he wants others to remember the past so nothing like Pearl Harbor ever happens again in the future.

"I know I did the best I could and I'm sure that 90 percent of the others did the same thing," he said.

Patriots Point is honoring Pearl Harbor survivors and victims in a remembrance ceremony aboard the Yorktown at 11 a.m. Saturday. The Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony is free and open to the public.