At 93, World War II vet reflects on friends who made ultimate sacrifice

Richard Abraham served in the U.S. Navy, and he was at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked it. (KATU Photo)

Looking back through history isn't always easy. Some memories are better left forgotten.

“War was no fun,” said Richard Abraham. “The planes would drop their torpedoes.”

Abraham was there when Japanese Zeroes bombed Pearl Harbor. While he made it home, many of his buddies never made it out of the water.

Abraham knows how long he served in the Navy down to the minute: 5 years, 7 months, 14 days, 16 hours and 32 minutes. At just 17 years old, he was an eyewitness to history as his friends paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“There were guys on the ship when it sunk. There were a lot of lives lost,” he said.

So, this Memorial Day, Abraham is here to tell us their stories. For his daughter, Andrea Abraham McGrady, the holiday isn't just about remembering the fallen, but also honoring the veterans who survived.

“I think we should remember, doesn't matter what day of the year, we should remember them and thank them for their service,” said McGrady.

Soon, their stories may be lost to time, and each piece of history loses its meaning once the veterans behind them are gone.

“It's unbelievable what these men went through and did for our country, and here he is: 93 and still able to tell us what happened,” said McGrady. “He's outliving everybody.”

Memorial Day is a constant reminder that the time her father spent in the Navy was not served in vain.

“Tell them thank you,” she said. “Thanks, Dad for serving in the Navy.”

Abraham says his goal is reach to 100 years old.

According to the National Archives, 913 veterans from Oregon and 1,505 from Washington died during World War II.

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