RECALLING DEC. 7, 1941

December 06, 2001 11:00 pm
MEN OF VALOR: Emery Oliver, Bill Tolles and Glen Heryford, all of Union County, experienced the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. (File photo).
MEN OF VALOR: Emery Oliver, Bill Tolles and Glen Heryford, all of Union County, experienced the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. (File photo).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

Today is rekindling feelings of pride and pain in three Union County veterans.

Emery Oliver of Summerville, Glen Heryford of La Grande and Bill Tolles of Island City were stationed at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the day of Japans famous surprise attack. A total of 2,403 Americans and 55 Japanese died in the fighting, which started at 7:55 a.m. on a Sunday.

Tolles sees a parallel between Pearl Harbor and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 in New York City and Washington, D.C.

At Pearl Harbor and New York, they (the enemies) made the country mad, Tolles said.

He said that this got everyone in the United States behind the war effort.

This did not happen with Korea and Vietnam, Tolles said, referring to the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Heryford is also impressed with how Americans have responded to the Sept. 11 attacks.

More people have gotten a little patriotism in them (since Sept. 11) than in the past 40 years put together, Heryford said.

He believes that Pearl Harbor survivors could empathize better than most with what the people in New York City endured.

We knew how they felt because we had been through it already (at Pearl Harbor), Heryford said.

Oliver believes that Sept. 11 was more tragic than Pearl Harbor because so many civilians died.

This (Sept. 11) was a lot worse... We (those stationed at Pearl Harbor) were supposed to be fighting-men, Oliver said.

Despite the passage of 60 years, America has not forgotten those who were at Pearl Harbor. Heryford notes that organizations such as the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association see to this. It regularly salutes its members.

Heryford is proud of a letter he and other members of the survivors association received earlier this year from former President George Herbert Walker Bush.

In the letter, addressed personally to Heryford, Bush wrote: Together you confronted danger and endured a terrible tragedy, and together you rose to the challenge. You never faltered.