Technology helps a Pearl Harbor survivor share his story in the age of social distancing

Updated: May. 13, 2020 at 6:14 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - USS Arizona survivor Lou Conter has attended the yearly remembrance ceremony at Pearl Harbor many times.

He has only missed one in the last decade, and is still hoping to attend this December’s 79th anniversary ceremony on Oahu.

“My reservation is there. It’s just a matter if the doctor will let me go,” Conter said.

Conter is always willing to share his story whether while visiting Hawaii or when he is back at home in California.

But coronavirus concerns have the 98-year-old social distancing.

To help him stay connected, Pacific Historic Parks and Edutainment Learning linked him up with Zoom so he can continue to share his invaluable oral history virtually.

On the morning of December 7, 1941, Conter was on board the USS Arizona. The ship took four direct-hits from Japanese airplanes.

Over 1,100 men from the Arizona perished.

In a conversation via Zoom Tuesday, a chat with Conter shifted to them being acknowledged.

“Give them a prayer and say you are thankful for them because they gave their ultimate,” Conter said. “They lost their lives to save America.”

Conter is now one of only two living USS Arizona survivors.

In recent weeks, some officials — including President Trump — have compared the COVID-19 pandemic to the Pearl Harbor attack. A journalist recently asked Conter about that comparison — one he disagrees with.

“He said this is like Pearl Harbor. What are you doing? How are you handling it?" Conter said.

“I said, it’s nothing like Pearl Harbor. I’m sitting here watching my television getting all the news and everything and having a scotch and water. I said we didn’t do that Pearl Harbor day we were getting shot at.”

Pacific Historic Parks plans on sharing Conter’s Zoom session and others on its digital platforms.

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