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Survivors Gather In Baltimore To Commemorate Pearl Harbor Anniversary

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Wednesday marks the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. More than 100 survivors from around the country gathered in Hawaii for ceremonies hosted by the National Park Service. 

And as Alex DeMetrick reports, one of those survivors remembered the attack at a ceremony in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. 

It was raining in Baltimore, but 70 years ago, the Coast Guard cutter Taney was anchored under sunny skies in Hawaii. That’s until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the ship and America into war.

Thomas Talbott was there when it happened.

“It was such a shock,” said Talbott, Pearl Harbor survivor. “You stood there one minute and the next you hear bombs dropping. They were right over the top of the ships, just coming down the harbor.  That was the first time I ever saw water burn.  It was terrible.  I’ll never forget it.”

Men who later served aboard the Taney joined Talbott for the 70th anniversary of the attack. They were in the states when it happened.

“I was in high school at that time, and I planned to go into the Coast Guard, which I did. I think we would have gone right then if they’d taken people who were 16 and 17,” said George Blessing, World War II veteran.

Willis Collyer was already in the Coast Guard in Boston.

“Everybody was up in the air. Nobody knew. They hit the panic button and called us all back,” Collyer recalled.

And now ceremonies call back fewer each year. The ones who lived history and passed it on.

“My whole life changed that day,” said Talbott. “The whole world changed as far as I was concerned.”

 And continues to change, as those who remember best, drift on.

 The Coast Guard cutter Taney has the historic distinction of being the only vessel attacked at Pearl Harbor that is still afloat.

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