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Pearl Harbor survivor recalls the attack 80 years later

100-year-old Durward B. Swanson shared his encounter of the attack.
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 7:04 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Tuesday marks 80 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor.

To remember the thousands of lives lost that day, people gathered at the East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery.

Knoxville American Legion Post 2 hosted a remembrance ceremony at the cemetery.

Among those attending, 100-year-old Durward B. Swanson shared what happened to him the morning of the attack.

”I was only 20 years old. I was scared at first, but then I got mad as hell. All of us did. Most of the people weren’t nothing but a bunch of kids. We had a few old-timers but very few. I should’ve been killed that day but I wasn’t,” shared Swanson.

Swanson says he was serving in the Air Force at the time of the attack. With the anticipation to briefly leave and get married.

“I went in the mess hall to eat breakfast. Gone up and laid down across my bunk. I didn’t have but two more weeks and I was going to come back to the States on furlough to marry my school sweetheart and go back to war,” said Swanson.

Nearly 2,400 men, women, and children were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, of the 16 million people that served in WWII, less than 2% are still alive.

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