For Whitley County resident Pat Collins, the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor last Wednesday had a little different meaning than it does for most other people.
At the time, she was only four months old and living about three miles from the American naval base where the pacific fleet was anchored. The blasts from the bombs were so close that they blew out the windows of her family’s home.
"What I know is what my mom said," Collins told several dozen people gathered at VFW Post 3167 in Williamsburg last Wednesday afternoon for a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Ceremony.
"When they started bombing Pearl Harbor, she had to throw us under the bed because all the windows glass was broken. There were three of us. I remember the fox holes when I got older because I played in the mud in them."
For Collins, who has seen Pearl Harbor more than 50 times, said last Wednesday’s ceremony meant a lot.
"As I grew older, we got to see Pearl Harbor a lot. You couldn’t go in, but you could see it from the road," she said. "You could see them still working on it years after that. To go there and see the Arizona was really something to see."
At the time of the attack, Collins father was working in Pearl Harbor, but wasn’t in the military.
"After all that happened, guys that couldn’t go to war had to clean-up Pearl Harbor. All the wives went to work in the pineapple factories that is the way it worked back then," she said.
She got to Williamsburg by way of marrying an Army man from Whitley County.
Earlier in the day last Wednesday, dozens gathered at the Whitley County Courthouse for another Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day event, which included laying a wreath in front of the veteran’s memorial at the courthouse by members of the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veteran’s (DAV), Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution representatives.
During both events, the Whitley County High School JROTC posted the colors.