Pearl Harbor New Yorker lost his friend 75 years ago, but remembers it like yesterday [VIDEO]

Pearl Harbor New Yorker lost his friend 75 years ago, but remembers it like yesterday [VIDEO]

The 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor is upon us. My father served in the Navy and the Merchant Marines during WWII. He never spoke of those days, but he was never the same. For the rest of his life, when you woke him up, he came up swinging. My family knows of one incident… and it was horrifying. On a ship my father was on, a Kamikaze hit. They were the Japanese version of suicide bombers in planes. My father was on the bridge. He was the only one who survived that day up top. He was in shock as he looked at the dead around him after the plane hit. My grandmother was in church that day and swore she heard him call her name. She thought he was there, so she turned around, but he was nowhere to be found. Later, she found out what happened. Pearl Harbor was even worse for many others and they will never forget that day.

Almost all who served in that great war are gone now. Armando Galella is still here though. A New Yorker, he served with his friend John Horan. Armando made it out of Pearl Harbor alive… John was not so lucky. Many of those who served in WWII held a deep abiding hatred for the Japanese and this is one of the reasons why.

AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

From NY Daily News:

Armando Galella went one way. His friend and fellow soldier John Horan went the other.

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Seventy-five years later, Galella — known to one and all as “Chick” — is left alone to tell the tale of what happened the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor.

The two men were natives of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., both somewhat improbably stationed at the Hawaiian base when two waves of Japanese planes attacked.

The two pals crossed paths as bombs and bullets rained from above.

“John Horan went toward the hangars at Hickam Air Force Base,” Galella recalls of their last meeting. “And I went down to the motor pool … When I came back, Hickam Field was a disaster. The hangars were gone. The airfields were gone.”

John Horan, age 23, was gone, too.

“He got killed that day,” said Galella. “Shrapnel in the skull. I will not forgive and I will never forget.”

Galella is now 95, but he remembers that day as if it were just yesterday. That’s what such an event will do to you… it carves itself into your memory permanently. He will make his first-ever return trip to Pearl Harbor for the 75th anniversary — courtesy of a local GoFundMe page that raised $8,000. Galella is a US Army veteran, who was awarded a Bronze Star for his time in the Pacific. He comes from Sleepy Hollow, NY. I kid you not… the village made famous by a headless horseman.

He enlisted in 1940 and traveled with four friends to the Army Recruiting Center at 39 Whitehall St. — a location later bombed by anti-war demonstrators during the Vietnam era. Galella’s nickname was Chick, because soaking wet he was skinny as a chicken and weighed only 110 pounds. They originally told him he was too small for combat. “But the officer told me, ‘You really want to join? Go down the street, eat some bananas, drink a lot of water, come back.’ So I did. They put me back on the scales, he patted me on the butt and said, ‘Go take your oath. You’re in.’”

Galella shares his story as so many others couldn’t. He speaks at schools and memorial services. He doesn’t want people to forget how hard won our freedom is. He says if you aren’t scared, you aren’t human and that is true. What makes someone great is not that they are fearless… it’s what they do when they are afraid. That’s what makes Galella a hero… one of the very last survivors of Pearl Harbor.

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Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is an editor and writer for Right Wing News. She owns and blogs at NoisyRoom.net. She is a Constitutional Conservative and NoisyRoom focuses on political and national issues of interest to the American public. Terresa is the editor at Trevor Loudon's site, New Zeal - trevorloudon.com. She also does research at KeyWiki.org. You can email Terresa here. NoisyRoom can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

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