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Last Man's Club Meets In Tulsa To Remember Pearl Harbor

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Survivors and family members of survivors meet to remember Pearl Harbor. Survivors and family members of survivors meet to remember Pearl Harbor.
The USS Arizona burns at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The USS Arizona burns at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
TULSA, Oklahoma - It's called the Last Man's Club, and they gather together each year to remember Pearl Harbor. The ceremony starts with a bell ringing out as survivors and family members of survivors remember the lives lost and lessons learned on December 7, 1941.

Seventy-three years later, Tulsa still has a few men who meet at an American Legion Post in east Tulsa to remember the day Japanese fighter planes attacked the U.S. naval base in Hawaii, killing about 2,400 people.

President Franklin Roosevelt called the attack "a date which will live in infamy."

12/7/2011 Related Story: Tulsa Area Pearl Harbor Survivors Honored Wednesday

Harriet Kuykendall attended with her father for years, and now that he is gone, she planned to honor him by again attending the ceremony. Kuykendall said there are still five survivors in the Tulsa area, but she was not sure all were in good enough health to attend.

The ceremony took place at Post 308, at 11328 East Admiral, with four Pearl Harbor survivors. They all had stories to tell.

"We heard rumbling but we didn't know what it was,” said Lonnie Cook, USS Arizona survivor. “And the turret captain came from chief's quarters into the lower handling room and told us the Japs were bombing us."

The attack killed 2,335 U.S. servicemen and wounded more than 1,100.

It's a day that for the men that has lived in much more than infamy. Like Lonnie Cook, who was a sailor aboard the USS Arizona. He was one of only 335 servicemen to survive out of more than 1,500. There are nine Pearl Harbor survivors living in the Tulsa area.

"We climbed down the turret and climbed down the bar bed on the starboard quarter deck and started taking people off, putting life vests in the water, and taking people coming out to the compartments that were burned,” Cook said. “Some of them were burned so bad, they called me by name and I couldn't even tell who they were."

Hats placed on a ceremonial table and a candle lit were way to remember those who never came home. Their names were read aloud and a bell rang.

"My goal is to go back to Pearl Harbor on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack on the 75th anniversary,” survivor Arless Cole said “Guess what? That 75th anniversary is just two years away. I'm 91 years old in a few days and, yes, I'm gonna go."

It's a goal to continue remembering so the fallen are never forgotten, he said.


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