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Published December 07, 2010, 05:43 PM

One Veteran Remembers Pearl Harbor 69 Years Later

Today is commonly known as the "date which will live in infamy." It's the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which marked the beginning of the second world war for the United States.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

Today is commonly known as the "date which will live in infamy."

It's the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which marked the beginning of the second world war for the United States.

One veteran, Ray Spicer, was just 17 when he first heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor 69 years ago Tuesday. His family was living near Bemidji at the time, and it wouldn't be long after that that he would be fighting a world away.

At 17, Spicer was skiing near Bemidji 69 years ago when he would come home and hear Pearl Harbor had been bombed. He jokes he didn't know who she was at the time. His mother would fill him in.

"She said it was in the Hawaiian Islands. Well I better go there. I was going to go over there and get a job. She said no. That was a dangerous place," Spicer said.

Spicer would enlist in the Marines just a few months later in June of 1942 and begin his military training on the Hawaiian Islands near Pearl Harbor. He says when he first arrived there for training in December, just a year later, the tragedy was still very visible.

"There was a lot of oil in the water. It seems hard to understand but I still remember the kind of smoldering coming up (on the ships) after all this time," Spicer said.

Those images may have given Spicer an idea of what would follow his training on the Islands. Over the next three years he went on to fight at many bloody battles on islands in the south pacific, fighting the Japanese and sometimes being greatly outnumbered.

"13,000 Japanese on a very small island. Casualties would be at 50 percent. I would get hurt and and come home," Spicer said.

Spicer says he doesn't need anyone to remind him of what started on this date nearly 70 years ago. But as time passes he says it is a little sad that so many others do.

"A lot of people forgot it, I mentioned to some and they say what is that. To others it's just another day of the week," Spicer said.

Spicer would return to Grand Forks following the war with a different perspective than at 17 years old. And that was that war is never glorious.

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