Small town Indiana honors Pearl Harbor hero

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BRAZIL, Ind. (WTHR) - It’s a date which will live in infamy.

Thursday we remembered the attack on Pearl Harbor.

It was 76-years-ago today when a surprise attack launched America into World War II.

Folks in Brazil, Indiana marked the occasion by honoring one of that battle's survivors.

The flag flew at half-staff outside, inside spirits were soaring. Everyone gathered at Towne Park Assisted Living in Brazil to pay tribute to Tom Hill.

"I think it's nice. I wasn't expecting nothing like this," Tom Hill admitted.

The greatest generation never would. Tom Hill was having breakfast 76-years-ago on the USS Sacramento when all hell broke loose.

"You were kind of scared in the beginning but as you got up there and start shooting at them then you feel good about it. We did the best we could with what we had. That is all we could do," he remembered.

"He thought it was a drill," His wife Vi added. "Yes we were just having practice drills. You just figured it was a drill you know. You don't realize there was a real enemy there till they start shooting at you. Then you know it," he continued.

He remembers the Japanese pilots flying so low he could see their eyes as fired his M-1rifle which as a seaman he was never trained to use.

"You are not expecting the enemy right there on top of you. We were tied up to the dock," he noted all this years later in disbelief.

So the boy who at 16 1/2 lied about his age to serve his country...that is what the greatest generation did back then....was right in the thick of it. Now 76 years later he is still not sure why he is still here and many of us buddies are not.

"God wanted to take care of me I guess. That is all I know. I was just one of the lucky ones," he says.

With his wife of 70-years Vi at his side he received accolade after accolade....award after award but the highlight clearly came with another veteran handed him a beer.

"Happy New Year to all of you," he bellowed.

So goes Tom Hill day in Brazil, Indiana
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