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US Vet Recalls A Heartbreaking Story Of Losing His Best Friend In Pearl Harbor

World War Two veteran, 93-year-old John Harvey Adams of Kingsburg, California recalls a heartbreaking story of losing his best friend from high school, Musician Second Class James Harvey Sanderson, in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.

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"Oh, I don't think I can tell you, I don't think I can put it into words."

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TRANSCRIPT This transcript was generated by AudioBurst technologies

Harvey was a clarinetist. Harvey went to the state it was a, it was a bunch of, a group of high schools, musicians who were in this particular case I think San Francisco. - Like some kind of state honor band or something? -That's it, yeah. And Harvey got first place two years in a row. - So he's the best high school clarinetist in the state? -Yes, right. Then he joined the navy and went to the navy school of music and he got into the navy band and he was aboard the Arizona when it was in Pear Harbor. - Yeah, so December 7th 1941, you're back here in California. How did you find out about what happened at Pearl Harbor? -You see that was on a Sunday as I recall, I was just, we'd just gotten home from church. I was sitting in the living room listening to the news and they interrupted what was going on to announce that Pearl Harbor had just been bombed. So, of course they didn't know what the damage was and that's the first I had heard of it. - Did you know that, that's where Harvey was? -Yes, I did. As a matter of fact Harvey was home about a month before, he said they were going to Pearl Harbor and unfortunately his father died about a week before or just a few days before Pearl Harbor and had she sent a message to the navy they would have sent him home. - Wow. - But she didn't and I remember telling me, she says, no, he was home just a month ago and you know just don't bother him. So that's the way that turned out and she had to live with that for the rest of her days. - Yeah, so heavy. - Yeah. - How much were you able to learn about what he'd been doing before the attack and, or where he was when it happened, did you get any kind of insight into what happened to him? - Well, I do know his station, his battle station was in the ammunition down below, handling ammunition, passing ammunition, so that's where he would be. - Which would have left him virtually zero chance of survival, when the Arizona was hit. But was it the night before he'd been performing the concert with the band there? - Yeah, in Honolulu and a mutual friend of ours who grew up with us was in the navy and in Pearl Harbor, he went to this band concert in Honolulu the night before and after the concert he talked with Harvey and then the next day, the next morning he was gone. - Wow, I'm really glad you shared that, because I think it's important for people to understand it, that when we get to December 7th every year and we talk about it, it's not just ships going up in flames, it's not just a number, more than 2000 sailors who died that day, it's real people, it was your best friend who died that day. In the years since have you been to the USS Arizona memorial? - Yes, yeah. - What was that like for you, what did you think about while you were there? - Oh, I don't think I can tell you, I don't think I can put it into words.