Carson City, NV (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Roland Peachee, a survivor of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, shares his story on the 72nd anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.
Twenty-five-year old Navy sailor, Roland Peachee, died that day Pearl Harbor was attacked. At least, that’s what his foster parents thought for 42 years, until he showed up on their doorstep.
"They couldn't believe it,” recalls Peachee. They said, “We had received word that you were killed. I had a hard time convincing them it was me."
Peachee decided not to come home after World War II, he says, because Pearl Harbor changed him. It's a choice he still gets emotional about as he reflects on the ‘day of infamy’ that remains a huge part of his life.
When the first bombs hit Pearl Harbor, nothing seemed out of the ordinary for Peachee, who was working as a butcher on the U.S.S Maryland.
Now 97-years-old, he vividly recalls the chaos that ensued when men and women of the U.S. Pacific Fleet realized they were under attack.
"We were getting bodies out of the water and if they were alive, we would send them to the hospital. Otherwise, we'd lay them aside," says Peachee.
More than 2,400 perished and 2,100 were injured. Among them were many of Peachee's comrades who were left defenseless on their battleship.
"There was nothing we could do but hope and pray," he says.
What saved him that day he boils down to being in the right place at the right time.
"[The Japanese] were shooting the same place each time they came through. That's what saved us."
Peachee is proud to be a survivor. He now envisions a world without war.
"I fought for my country. I'll do it again. I don't want to, but I'll do it again"
But his patriotic spirit still lives on.
Peachee was a major advocate for Pearl Harbor survivors. He worked with the Nevada Legislature to get special Pearl Harbor license plates approved for those who were at the battle.