Learning From The Pearl Harbor Attack

John Rauschko
John Rauschko
Fred Borch
Fred Borch

By Joann Shin

(KHNL) - The mood was upbeat, as hundreds came to Waikiki to remember one of the darkest days in our history. It was the end of a gathering organized to look back on the Pearl Harbor attack.

"I felt six torpedoes hit my ship. Tremendous blast and fire," recounted John Rauschko, a Pearl Harbor survivor. He was 20 years old and a signalman on board the USS West Virginia.

The 85 year old said, "The most difficult job I have ever had in my life is the handling of dead bodies off the Arizona. They were burned and the stench of human flesh burning is in my nose and nostrils to this day."

This anniversary also drew historians, including Fred Borch.

The retired army colonel is now a historian in Virginia.

More than six decades later, historians are still gaining new insight into this event.

Borch said, "Expect the unexpected. Pearl Harbor really shows you have to have vision, you have to have imagination, you have to think about what could the enemy do."

Both Borch and Rauschko agree time is running out.

More work needs to be done to uncover the truth.

Rauschko says the most valuable resources are the survivors who lived through it.

But he says getting their stories can sometimes be a difficult task.

He explained, "So many times fellow Pearl Harbor survivors tell me their stories. When they die and pass away and I go to their services, I visit their family and wives and they haven't said a word to them. That part of history is gone forever."

Rauschko hopes many of his fellow survivors continue to tell their stories to make sure this piece of history isn't lost.

Part of the proceeds from the gala dinner will go toward building a new 52 million dollars visitors center at the Arizona Memorial.