Pearl Harbor veterans share experiences

December 11, 2008 — by Robin Liu

Veterans speak out about their experience during Pearl Harbor.

Learning about history in a classroom can be exciting, but there’s no replacement for hearing it firsthand. Three World War II veterans came to the McAfee Center on Dec. 1 during tutorial to speak to students about their experiences during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Many people attended, and over half the McAfee was filled.

The event, hosted by the History club, was intended to give students an opportunity to hear about the experiences of Pearl Harbor veterans Paul Bingham, Troy Morris and Phillip Dresden. The idea came from math teacher Larry Bingham, whose father was part of the veteran panel.

“Each year the History Club has the tradition of doing an event,” said History club co-president senior Mridula Nadamuni. “[Larry] Bingham had approached us to say that his father was interested in coming to talk to us, so we just took it from there.”

During the event, the veterans spoke to students about their moments during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack and their experiences as soldiers.

“I really wanted the veterans to share their stories,” said Nadamuni. “It’s one thing to read about Pearl Harbor in textbooks, but it’s another thing to hear it from someone who survived.”

History club co-president senior Nyssa Spector agreed that it was important to learn about the past from a primary source.

“It’s really important to learn about the history and get a firsthand experience,” said Spector.

Nadamuni believed that in addition to the history, there was much more that could be learned from the veterans.

“I wanted students to realize that there are lessons from Pearl Harbor that we can still apply today, and not to forget the past,” said Nadamuni. “The moment you forget the past, then you’ve lost your way in the future.”

Spector believes that there may be few chances of learning about Pearl Harbor firsthand in the future and hopes that students can realize that opportunities of hearing from a primary source are rare.

“We’re the last generation that’s going to be able to do this,” said Spector. “[The veterans] are all in their 80’s; they may not be [able to share their experiences] much longer.”