NAS PENSACOLA (WALA) - Applause wasn't hard to come by today aboard NAS Pensacola, as dozens turned out to show their respect for the veterans who served during Pearl Harbor and World War II.
More than 2,400 people died December 7, 1941 when Japanese pilots bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack destroyed U.S. ships, aircraft and the peace of mind for many Americans.
Former Marine Corps Corporal Dr. Sidney Phillips was in a drug store in Mobile when he heard of the news.
"Pearl Harbor came as a total surprise to the country and the people were simply infuriated. This lady came bursting through the side door of the drug store and told us to turn on the radio," said Phillips, "So we did and they were talking about the attack on every radio station. People felt like we would one day be drawn into the war but I remember clearly thinking that we were now in the war."
Dr. Phillips joined the Marine Corps the very next day.
"The country came together and patriotism reached a zenith like I had never seen before," Phillips said.
Ret. Sergeant Major William Braddock, 89, had just joined the Marine Corps when he was sent to Pearl Harbor.
Just last year, he got a chance to go back.
"I had not been back in 70 years. It looked so different, I was almost lost when I returned to Hawaii," said Braddock.
Veterans said the ceremony and support brought back a flood of memories and emotions.
"It's knowing that people do care and they're out to thank us. We really, really appreciate it," Braddock said.
"I love to see the people turn out for something like this. It does my heart good," said Phillips.
Officials say there were about 500 veterans and active duty service members in attendance.
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