AUSTIN -- For 71 years it's been a day most Americans reflect on, but for a special few, December 7 is more than a day they reflect on; it's a moment in time they'll never forget.
“We heard these tremendous explosions, and one of us looked out the window and said 'They are bombing us,'” veteran Jim Waters said. He said he was sitting in his bed bunk at the time he heard the explosions.
He said he knew immediately they were being attacked so he and his roommate ran to hangers, hoping to find some of their men. The planes were destroyed.
“They did go out but found nothing,” he said about the search.
Sherbon Smiddy, 96, said the days that followed were filled with heartache and concern.
“There was confusion. There was rumors,” Smiddy said. “Censoring was established, rationing was established, control for getting off the streets by 6:30, no lights were to be on, headlights of cars were darkened.”
Smiddy was working for a telephone company nearby during the attack.
Seventy-one years after the attack, and the men said they haven't forgotten. They hope no one else will either.
“This is an attack on American soil,” Smiddy said. “This is the first time in my life that I have known our nation to be invaded, and I don’t want that to happen again.”
“I was very fortunate. I went all through the war without getting a scratch. I was very fortunate,” Waters said.
The men were among those honored at a lunch held by Honor Flight Austin Friday. Honor Flight Austin helps send veterans to Washington D.C. so they can see the World War II memorial first-hand.