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Pearl Harbor Remembered in the Northland

Posted at: 12/07/2012 5:38 PM
Updated at: 12/07/2012 6:17 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
manderson@wdio.com

Across the nation Pearl Harbor Day is remembered as the day that started WWII for the United States. Friday, Northlanders paid special tribute to those killed in the 1941 attack with a ceremony at the DECC in Duluth.

The VFW Post 137 in Duluth organizes the ceremony every year, and this year was no different. Veteran Community Advocate, Durbin Keeney, spoke to the crowd.

"Then or now, we have to show them our respect, show them our love and thank them for what they're doing," said Keeney.

Along with veterans and families, a survivor of Pearl Harbor was honored. Harold Baker is 92 years old and served as a Chief gunner's mate on the USS Honolulu.

"This is me," said Baker as he pointed to a scrapbook of war photos. "This is early in the war and with a different kind of gun made in Germany. It wasn't worth 10 cents."

Stationed in Pearl Harbor in 1941, the USS Honolulu was hit by a Japanese bomb, but the damage didn't put the cruiser out of commission. Baker ended up spending six straight years at sea during WWII.

"It was just like don't touch dad when he was sleeping," said Baker's daughter, Jeanne Ahlin. "Because he'd jump up ready for battle."

Ahlin put together a scrapbook to honor her father's service. It includes a photo taken the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor, Baker and the USS Honolulu crew were hit two more times.

"We were sitting up on deck...and all of a sudden I saw a red ball go under the bottom of the ship," said Baker.

Baker is honored 71 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor as one of the few remaining survivors.