Remembering Pearl Harbor: A Veteran's Look Back at December 7, 1941

It's been 75 years to the day. More than 2400 people were killed in the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

Abilenian William R Toornburg was just five at the time but remembers the attacks like they were yesterday.

"My dad was home because everybody was out of work because of the depression," stated William Toornburg, "and so he gathered us around our great big console radio and we listened to the president give his speech."

At his young age, he wasn't sure of the significance of the attacks but says he knew it was serious.

"Everything in our town was closed for the duration. Everything was rationed. You couldn't buy this, you couldn't buy that," he added.

This came as a result of the start of World War II.

"We had air raid drills," he said. "At five years old I was fitted with a custom made gas mask."

The fighting took place only miles away from his home off the coast of Long Island.

Now, he still has a pin he got when he was six years old that reads, "Remember Pearl Harbor."

However, he says it's the memories of that time that will last a lifetime.

"Well it changed our whole way of living. When you looked around you could see the effects of the war."

Toornburg joined the Air Force and served 20 years. He was stationed at Dyess Air Force Base in 1986 to work with the B1 Bombers and he's been here ever since.


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