The sons and daughters of Iowans who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor gathered in the cold and wind today near the State Capitol to mark the 80th anniversary of the attack.
Linda Clark Quigley is the leader of the group, and spoke about the impact of the surprise attack. “Casualties on December 7th included 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians. One-thousand-178 people were wounded,” she says.
Quigley talked about the importance of remembering Pearl Harbor and read from a statement of a survivor who recently died. “One thing about Pearl Harbor — the one thing to remember is to be alert. Alert to what is going on around you. Often times we leave it to law enforcement, but we should be the vigilant ones,” Quigley says.
Quigley says there are no Iowans still alive who survived that tragic day. “Not that we know of — our organization kept track of the records that we had — but no, we do not have any survivors left,” according to Quigley.
(Editor’s note: Radio Iowa has learned since this story that there are at least two Iowans who survived Pear Harbor who are still alive. Read more here: https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/12/14/two-iowans-who-survived-pearl-harbor-bombing-still-alive-80-years-later/)
Her dad Richard Clark was a signalman aboard the battleship USS Pennsylvania, which was in drydock and hit during the attack. That gave her connection to the other survivors. “I got to go to some of the meetings when I was younger…just getting to know them and know what they went through at that time and the people that they lost during the bombing. But then they kept in touch with other ones. Just a wonderful community that they had, just so they could remember what happened,” Quigley says.
She says her dad told her it was a terrible experience to see the death and destruction on December 7th. But she says he later dealt with it. “My father forgave. He wanted to forgive the Japanese. He saw after what was over the devastation of what happened to Japan,” Quigley says. She says her father knew that not all the Japanese people wanted war and they were not all bad.
The ceremony ended with wreaths laid at the Pearl Harbor monument.