Local Pearl Harbor Survivor Shows Resilience To Remember

Friday, December 7th 2018, 7:06 pm
By: News 9

On Dec. 7, 77 years ago, Japanese forces descended on Pearl Harbor, killing thousands of Americans and sinking the USS Oklahoma among other battleships.

The anchor now resides in downtown Oklahoma City, as a reminder of the resiliency that followed.

Oklahoma will forever be tied to the “day that will live in infamy,” and each year as survivors grow fewer in number, those who do remain want to make sure we remember.

Servicemen and women of all ages paid their respects on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

Just one man in attendance, though, 96-year-old Ivan Stewart, stood on the shores of Hawaii that day, firing machine guns at Japanese planes until his ammo ran dry.

“As ships were capsizing in the hot waters below, Ivan reached down to pull sailors and Marines to shore with his bare hands,” retired Capt. John Keilty said.

Stewart is determined to keep coming back to the anchor for as long as he is able to ensure his story lives on.

He said he hopes to show that, “being exposed to history, that there is endurance, that we were able to be victorious and we ought to be prepared, which we aren’t.”

More than 2,400 Americans died in the Hawaiian harbor that day, 429 on the USS Oklahoma alone. The greater story, though, lies in the resilience of those who fought back.

“They turned those horrible and deliberate sounds of war into the sound of victory,” Keilty said.

Stewart's advice to today's troops is never let your guard down.

“Be serious,” he said. “Use the discipline to be better. I think this was what helped me.”