Pearl Harbor Survivor Looks Back

12-8-05 - At just 19 years old and only three months into his Naval service, Sailor Woodward Graham never expected a battle like the one he found himself in on December 7th, 1941.

"I had my dress shoes on prepared to go into town," Woodward said. "I was brushing my teeth and then the alarm went off. I was afraid for my people, and I didn't know what was gonna happen in the battle, but I knew we had a battle."

When the alarm sounded on his Navy C-plane supply ship, Graham rushed to his battle station.

"I put on my helmet and life jacket," Graham said.

On Sunday, December 7th, 1941 at 7:55 a.m., young Graham had a front row seat to the surprise attack.

"I saw bombs dropping in the water," Graham said, "there were more ships hit than weren't hit."

Eight American battleships and 13 other naval vessels were sunk or badly damaged, but Graham's supply ship was spared.

"God was with us I think," Graham said.

Graham went on to serve three more years in the Pacific during World War II, and he says he lessons of Pearl Harbor came back to haunt him in 2001.

"The Pearl Harbor motto is Keep America alert, and if they would've been there, there wouldn't be any 9-11," Graham said.

As survivors pass on, the memories of that day fade with age, but take it from a sailor who was there: Pearl Harbor has hell on earth.

"I'll never forget it," Graham said.

Today, Graham, now 83 years old, lives in Bonham.