Unflinching Portraits of Pearl Harbor Survivors- page 10 | History | Smithsonian
(Marco Garcia / Wonderful Machine)

Unflinching Portraits of Pearl Harbor Survivors

Seventy years after the day that lives on in infamy, the soldiers stationed at Pearl Harbor recall their experiences

Art Herriford

Art Herriford Pearl Harbor survivor
(Marco Garcia / Wonderful Machine)

Art Herriford (above) has a photograph of Pearl Harbor taken just before the attack that conjures up memories. He recalls sitting down to a bowl of cereal that morning on the USS Detroit and never taking a bite. He was lucky, in that his ship and its crew were unharmed. But he observed firsthand the tragedy that befell the USS Arizona.

“I was looking directly at the Arizona when she went sky-high,” Herriford, president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, once told the Associated Press. “It’s still hard to believe that in the time period of the snap of a finger, 1,177 lives could be wiped out.”

Garcia plans to take more portraits at this year’s reunion. A part of him fears that the day that Roosevelt declared would “live in infamy” might be forgotten as the number of survivors dwindles. “That is why I feel this is important to do,” says Garcia. “I don’t want this history to be forgotten.”

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