WWII veteran recounts how attack on Pearl Harbor motivated him to join Navy

Mr. Charles Hannon was only 14 years old when the attack on Pearl Harbor happened, and like so many others he was willing to put his life on the line to fight for his country before the war ended.

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Tuesday marks 80 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor, which launched America into World War II.

That deadly attack motivated Charles Hannon, now 94 years old, to join the U.S. Navy.

Hannon is staying at Anthem Lakes Senior Living Facility in Atlantic Beach and spoke to News4JAX about that day.

Hannon said he was 14 years old, living in New Jersey, when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and he remembers that day well.

“It was a sad time,” Hannon said. “But the American people got together and went forward.”

The Pearl Harbor Naval base was attacked by the Japanese Navy Air Service. More than 2,400 Americans were killed that Sunday morning. Nearly 1,200 more were hurt.

It plunged the United States into World War II.

“You say to yourself, ‘Well it should have never happened, but it did happen,’” Hannon said. “The only thing we could do is fight back and win the war.”

Hannon enlisted in the Navy three years later at 17 years old, with his father’s permission. He fought in the war from 1944 until it ended the next year.

“At 17 years old you have a different outlook on life,” Hannon said. “They attacked us. [I thought to myself] ‘Well, let’s go back and whack them,’ which we did.”

Like so many others, Hannon was willing to put his life on the line.

“Nobody likes war,” he said. “Nobody wants war. But when it comes, you better be prepared for it. Do not run the other way. Run into it.”

About the Author: