Local Pearl Harbor survivor honored at memorial service

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - Thursday marks the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor -- a day that drew the U.S. into World War II.

One of less than 10 known survivors of Japan's surprise attack from our area was honored at a memorial service at the Rochester Yacht Club. 

"Our real reason here is to draw patriotism," said Jerry Cunningham.

Just a few feet from the Rochester harbor, a small group gathered at sunrise to honor the men and women who served our country the day Pearl Harbor was attacked. 

"It brings a lot of memories back," said Stanley Hwalek, a Pearl Harbor survivor.

At 97 years old, Hwalek still has a clear memory of what happened that day. 

"There are some things during the day that trigger my memory going back years ago," said Hwalek. "I do think about it now and then." 

Hwalek believes it's very crucial we keep the importance of this day alive, even years after he's gone

"There's less and less attention to it and I guess before you know it, it'll be combined with some other holiday or something," said Hwalek.

"He had quite the experience," said Joe Campanella, the son of Pearl Harbor survivor.

Campanella's father, Tony, wasn't able to attend this year's memorial service due to health reasons. Tony is 103 years old now, and is among just a military veterans still alive to tell their story. 

"He said the planes were flying so low that he could see the faces of the Japanese pilots," said Campanella. "So it was very traumatic."


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