Seventy five years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, there are just five USS Arizona survivors left. That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as the attack on Pearl Harbor left a staggering 1,177 of the Arizona’s 1,512 crew members dead after a Japanese bomb detonated nearly one million pounds of ammunition under her deck.
USS Arizona casualties accounted for nearly half of those lost on December 7th, and Colorado Springs resident Donald Stratton knew many of them, because he fought along side them that day.
At 94 years old, Stratton became a published author with his November 22d release of “All the Gallant Men.” In the 75 years since the attack, Stratton’s book was the first published by any survivor of the Arizona.
Two weeks into its run, All the Gallant Men sits as the #41 best selling book on Amazon.com, and the #2 best selling military history book, only out paced by Bill O’Reilly’s blockbuster “Killing The Rising Sun”, which the Fox News commentator has been talking up on his show for months. Stratton also hit the New York Times bestseller list in his book’s first week in print – an instant best seller.
In an essay that Stratton composed for FoxNews.com to mark today’s anniversary, Stratton said of Pearl Harbor “What happened on December 7, 1941, if it didn’t kill us, changed us forever. President Roosevelt was right to call it “a date that will live in infamy.” But for my fellow survivors and me, it also is alive in memory, like shrapnel left embedded in our brains because the surgeon thought it too dangerous to operate. These memories lie within me, forever still and silent, like the men entombed in the Arizona.”
Thanks to survivors such as Colorado’s own national treasure Donald Stratton, the memory of those lost will continue to live on. (Oh, and by the way, Stratton’s book might make a good Christmas present.)