Region 8 Man Remembers "Day of Infamy"

December 7, 2004 – Posted at 5:46 p.m. CST

JONESBORO -- Over sixty years later, Larry Katz of Blytheville says the images of the attack on Pearl Harbor are still vivid in his mind.

Katz and two of his friends just finished breakfast on December 7, 1941, when they heard on a portable radio a call for all military personnel to return to their bases. He said he could never have anticipated that historical event in our nation's history.

"I said 'We're being shot at!' and I looked on the plane and the plane had a big red circle with a line through it indicating a Japanese plane," said Katz.

The cab the three men were riding in ran into ditch. The three men, still unsure what was going on, got out of the cab and ran to the aid of the others.

"And at that time, I yelled, 'What in the hell was that?' Someone said, "It was a Jap!" We knew immediately we were being under attack," said Katz.

After making it back to the Navy Yard the men saw three ships that had been attacked--the Pennsylvania, the Cassin, and the Downes. They spent the day pulling bodies off the smoke-filled ships, and it's something Katz says he will never forget.

"We became men, then we got scared," said Katz as he wiped back tears.

Katz says he and the others thought the Japanese were about to invade, and eventually take over.

"And they could have. We were that unprepared. We didn't have any guns. None of us knew what to do," said Katz.

He says the only people who knew what to do were on the ships, and "And all our ships were just about sunk," said Katz.

Memories from that day will never be lost to him. He's documented the time he spent abroad, and keeps the notebook close.

"There's stories in there where we picked up pilots that were dead and shot down, and getting shot at by planes, and different cruisers. It's a complete diary," said Katz.

Larry Katz has never returned to Pearl Harbor, and says he never wants to again.

But the date December 7 has a new meaning for him. He and his wife Lorene are celebrating fifty-eight years of marriage. And it's only fitting that this anniversary date is one he would never forget.