Local veterans remember Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor veteran

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - A local World War II veteran recalled the day he heard the news about the Pearl Harbor bombing.

"I thought that was the end our country," said Lawrence Shoemaker, a World War II veteran and former prisoner of war.

88-year-old Lawrence Shoemaker still remembers hearing about the attack on Pearl Harbor 72 years ago. "I was 16 and a half years old. I remember it well, there was a big snow on the ground. I was over here in Virginia about 10 miles away and we were still in the car listening to the radio when President Roosevelt made the announcement," said Shoemaker.

The announcement said, "The United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air force of the Empire of Japan."

The news on that December day would change the course of Shoemaker's entire life -- in less than two years he would fight in World War II. "I wanted to do what I could. I was American and I wanted to do what I could," said Shoemaker.

On Saturday the Tri-Cities Military Affairs Council remembered the men and women who fought and died. The ceremony was held the old VFW post in Kingsport. "This was the VFW post named after Charles DeWitt Byrd, who was killed in Pearl Harbor. It's very fitting to have it here. Just because time goes by doesn't mean you should forget," said Ernie Rumsby, President of TC-MAC.

Even as the days and years grow old, Shoemaker tells News 5 he hopes people will somehow remember their sacrifice. "They don't remember like they used to. America is the best country in the world. I wouldn't give for the rest of the world," said Shoemaker.

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