Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - With very few survivors still around, it is the veterans who served in the Pacific decades ago whose stories we must help live on.
At 88 years old, Gordy Caza's memories are waning.
"Here's my name there," Caza said pointing to a photo.
But there are some things in his mind that don't need dusting off.
"The morning of December 7th, it was a Sunday. We had the day off. We went into the day room and we were playing checkers. And as we were playing checkers, the alert went over," he said.
Gordy was stationed at Fort Armstrong. About five miles from Pearl Harbor.
"Pretty soon the planes were coming right over our barracks."
Still a teenager, Gordy didn't yet know he was about to enter World War II.
"We dove underneath those trucks, and they set some of those trucks on fire. They let us know they were there."
Gordy shares his memories of that day, as other veterans vow never to forget what he and other Pearl Harbor survivors have taught them.
"History is something we have to pay attention to, if not, we're going to repeat it," said Duluth Veterans advocate Durbin Keeney.
Vulnerability being the key threat.
"The Japanese never thought they were going to be that successful. They never thought they would catch us so off guard," Keeney said.
And although at times emotional.
"You could have heard a pin drop," Caza said.
He finds the light hearted side of it.
"They tried to kill me."
But 71 years later, he still lives to tell the story.
Caza joined the Army at 17, having to lie about his age when he joined. He left four years later.