Knox World War II Veteran Remembers Pearl Harbor

WWII Veterans Joe Smrt and Perry Lucas salute the flag.
The 70th anniversary off the attack on Pearl Harbor was observed around the country and locally yesterday. The day had been proclaimed as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day by President Barack Obama.

At Knox VFW Post 748, veterans and others observed the anniversary. World War II veteran Joe Smrt, who said he was attending church choir practice when he heard the news, remembered the attack.

“Twenty-one ships of all kinds were attacked, damaged, or sunk in the sneak attack. In addition, there were 2400 or more casualties of military personnel. There were eight ships in battleship role that were badly damaged with the Arizona being sunk,” Smrt said.

Smrt said after the attack, President Roosevelt asked congress to declare war on Japan. In a little-remembered account, Smrt said two of the United States high command were relieved of their duties.

“Admiral Kimmell and General Short, commanders of the naval and army forces respectively, were promptly accused of dereliction of duty, and were relieved of their command. They were falsely accused, as facts later discovered would prove. The truth is that the administration and higher brass in Washington, having had information from intercepted Japanese intelligence reports, had withheld the information for one reason or another from Kimmell and Short,” Smrt explained.

Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941– a day that will live in infamy.