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Pearl Harbor survivors still fighting to keep America strong

By Olivia Wilmsen, Multimedia Journalist, olivia.wilmsen@krdo.com
Dustin Hodges, Reporter, dustin.hodges@krdo.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:12:42 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 07 2013 11:50:33 PM CST

Dozens gathered in Colorado Springs on Saturday to remember the brave men and women who served their country during the attack on Pearl Harbor 72 years ago.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Dozens gathered in Colorado Springs on Saturday to remember the brave men and women who served their country during the attack on Pearl Harbor 72 years ago.

Two men who survived the attack are still fighting to keep America strong.

"There were many heroes that morning,” said survivor Jim Downing.

For Pearl Harbor survivors Jim Downing and Doug Huggins, december 7, 1941 is a day both will never forget.

"What I remember from that morning... We saw the planes coming in; they were painted all drab like our army planes, but when they began to drop bombs and torpedoes we knew it wasn't the Army,” said Downing.

"I was getting dressed to go over to the Arizona when it started," said Huggins. 

Soldiers like Downing and Huggins fought back any way they could. 

"I cut ropes, I cut down the awnings, got water,” said Huggins. 

"I spent my time mostly fighting fire and tending the wounded,” said Downing. 

"As I saw these bodies lying around I felt their parents would never know what happened so I started memorizing names on the name tags so I could write their folks a letter,” he said. 

While the rest of us honor the men and women who served during the attack on Pearl Harbor, the survivors have a message for all of us. 

"I believe that weakness invites aggression so the message I want to see passed on is if we're weak we're vulnerable… Keep America Strong,” said Downing.

Both Downing and Huggins received special honors at Saturday's remembrance ceremony.

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