Local Pearl Harbor survivors honored 76 years after infamous day; one shares his story

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – December 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy.

Thursday marked the 76th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

More than 2400 Americans were killed in the surprise attack on the U.S. Naval base in Hawaii.

Of those killed, 45 were Louisiana natives.

“It’s something hard to explain. You try but the words, you can’t find the words to fit it. It’s something you never forget, after all those years,” said Joseph Richard, a Pearl Harbor survivor.

Richard was a ship fitter or welder in the Navy when the attack happened 76 years ago.

“I still got some friends aboard, my job was to cut them out. We just got a few of them, 33 of them then we had to quit. It’s something you think about after all these years you would forget it, never forgot. I can see it just as if it’s happening right now,” said Richard.

He was honored along with two others who couldn’t make it Thursday to a ceremony at the Petroleum Club.

William Puissegur and Alex Taylor are two of the three (Richard as well) Pearl Harbor survivors alive in the Lafayette area.

The late Bob Lowe who started the Marine Corps League in the Hub City was also honored for his service.

On that day in 1961, Richard, who was only 16 years old, saved as many lives as he could.

“The saddest part is the one’s that’s still down there. I got a friend of mine that got killed, his body is still on the (USS) Arizona,” said Richard.

At 96 years young, Richard knows he was lucky to survive that day and has a secret to his longevity.

“Good eating, good loving and good drinking,” said Richard.

 

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