Interviewing Pearl Harbor survivors for Wednesday's memorial story

With this year being the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, we thought it would be important to visit with survivors, many of whom are in their 90s.

History now lends weight to that day, a watershed moment that brought the U.S. into World War II, baptized the Greatest Generation, and even played a key role in feminist history. There still are people to talk to about it, though time is taking its toll.

We found one, Ed Block, 93, of Countryside, through an advance notice of a commemoration ceremony at an American Legion post in LaGrange. We found a second, Dean Garrett, 91, of Freeport, through a story in the local Freeport newspaper of his visit with fourth graders in April.

And, we found Jack Barry, 92, of Chicago, by calling Rick Miller, a son of a Pearl Harbor survivor now deceased. Rick, 48, of Mundelein, and his brother Bob, 52, of Pell Lake, Wis., have been running the local chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association for about five years.

All three survivors had vivid memories of that “date which will live in infamy,” and the details were riveting. Just as harrowing were their experiences serving in the Pacific after the Pearl Harbor attack. Two of the three –- Jack Barry and Ed Block -– received the Purple Heart for being wounded in action. And, Dean Garrett served on a cruiser that saw some of the fiercest naval fighting of the war.

Sitting with these three living legacies was one of those wonderful, rich aspects of this job, and I was grateful our photographers took some lengthy video with the still portraits they made of these heroes.

-- Ted Gregory

 Join Facebook: Trib Nation" href="" target="_blank">Trib Nation on Facebook for more of the how and why of Tribune journalism.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad