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Utah man who survived Pearl Harbor shares story on 81st anniversary of attack

Posted at 6:32 PM, Dec 07, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — Wednesday marked the 81st anniversary of the deadly attack on Pearl Harbor.

More than 2,400 Americans were killed in Hawaii during a surprise attack by Japan on December 7, 1941.

Mike Rose has lived in Utah for 18 years but was born in Hawaii and living there at the time of the attack.

"I was there as a three-year-old living on the island of Oahu And I was there the day the Japanese planes arrived," said Rose.

81 years later, Rose still has some pretty vivid memories of that day.

"The noise scared me, I spent the morning hiding under the front porch stairs," said Rose. "I had no idea what war was, but it got real loud around there because the planes were just, I know 27 Japanese bombers flew over my house."

Rose and his family, who he says lived about 12 miles from Pearl Harbor at the time, would all be safe.

However, he says, they had to leave their home for a week after the attack.

"When we returned to our house, there was a giant cannon sitting in our front yard, one of those things that get pulled behind a truck and for genuine real army guys," said Rose.

Eventually, Rose says, his family would be put on a British ship and taken to San Francisco.

On Wednesday, for the second straight year, Rose shared his story of survival and his interest in what happened on the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

He spoke to a handful of people who came out to the Fort Douglas Military Museum, on the University of Utah campus.

One of those people was Lisa Duckworth. Duckworth is an Army veteran who works with veterans in the community.

"My grandfather, he was I believe in the marines at the time and he was he and my grandmother were they were living and stationed at Pearl Harbor at the time," said Duckworth.

Luckily, Duckworth says, her grandfather was out of the country at officer candidate school at the time of the attack.

She says hearing factual and informational stories from someone who lived through it gave her an opportunity to learn more about the history of Pearl Harbor.

"Hearing the story about the first Japanese soldier, that was a pow that was captured during Pearl Harbor, it was interesting to hear that," said Duckworth.

It's a dialogue with people of all ages on Wednesday that Rose says was important to have, to help keep the memory of Pearl Harbor alive.

"It's been my experience that if the stories are not told history has forgotten," said Rose. "I believe they're worth telling."

Rose tells FOX 13 News he hopes those who came out to hear his stories will get a greater understanding of how the attack on Pearl Harbor changed not just our country, but the world.