May 26, 2014 9:56 AM by Elizabeth Hill

WWII veteran reflects on Pearl Harbor, remembers those lost

"I saw the first Japanese plane that came across pearl harbor, I saw the first bomb get dropped, the first one of our ships to get blown up."

Robert Lowe was just 19-years-old when the Japanese attacked the U.S. naval base at pearl harbor.

"I happened to be out in the middle of the parade grounds at that time and had a ring side seat at what was going on."

Lowe describes seeing huge clouds of black smoke and fire everywhere. He says the entire harbor was in flames.

"I was on one of the boats to try and go around and pull the guys out of the water and they were all slick and greasy and full of oil and it was hard to pull a big man out of the water up into the life boat."

While Lowe helped pull hundreds of men to safety that day, more than 2,400 people were killed and a thousand more injured.

"We managed to make it through the day and it was one of those memorable days, of course, in American history."

As a recent high school graduate and self described "country boy," Lowe says he saw the military as an opportunity he couldn't pass up.

"Jobs were hard to get and the country was kind of grim back in those days and I looked at the chance to wear a uniform and a chance to be a marine, I looked at that as a change of pace and something I wanted to do, so I joined the Marines."

Now, Lowe is a proud veteran and knows he's one of the lucky ones.

"It'd be just tragic if we didn't recognize that sacrifice that not only those people made that are dead, but that their families had to endure, the mothers, the fathers, the brothers and sisters also the kids."

More than a million Americans have sacrificed their lives for our country and Lowe says we must never forget what that means.

"If it weren't for those million dead people, we might not have a free America today."



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