MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Twelve of the South Carolinians who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor were aboard the USS Yorktown Monday afternoon for the ship's Pearl Harbor Day memorial service.
"25 men from South Carolina died during the Japanese led attacks on Dec 7, 1941. Of all the survivors, about 40 live in South Carolina," said Robin Hardee of the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor, South Carolina. "Seven died this past year. Time is ticking."
Hardee, the organization's state chair, has worked independently with surviving members across the state in recent years. This past September, she revived the organization after it went defunct, as Hardee says, "some years back."
Hardee's passion for Pearl Harbor began when she was a child; her father was a Pearl Harbor attack survivor. When he passed in 1992, she felt the need to connect as many other family members of survivors together to ensure memories of the historic day would be shared with future generations.
"We need to preserve the memory of those men," said Hardee. "We can't let those memories go down the drain."
For Hardee, part of that memory involves visiting the Yorktown on Pearl Harbor day as she and her father did until his death. With her she bring a bouquet of flowers, which she throws overboard in to the Cooper river.
"You watch as the flowers flow down river, then, suddenly, they bunch up. To me it's as if all our guys are coming back in spirit to tell us to keep that memory alive," she said.
As of now, Hardee is the only board member in the organization, but she hopes to have inspired others with her actions today. Future awareness events, she says, are in the works. To contact Robin Hardee, you are encouraged to e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.