Howard R. Christian II, 101, received a hero’s welcome on Wednesday as he returned to Pearl Harbor for the first time since the attack 75 years ago.
For the 102nd time, Christian joined Navy members for a Pearl Harbor Day ceremony honoring those who died at the harbor 75 years ago.
“When we looked out the window and saw our planes going low and the explosions, we were very excited. We thought ‘they are going to hit a carrier,’” he said.
Howard R. Christian II, 101, who received a hero’s welcome as he returned to Pearl Harbor for the first time since the attack 75 years ago. pic.twitter.com/jdT39fLJFX — Yasmeen Hassan (@YasmeenWESH) January 3, 2020
Christian, who was a longtime naval lieutenant, served on the USS O’Brien when the attacks happened.
In a short ceremony, Pearl Harbor survivors and family members were presented with wreaths and a commemorative plaque.
Christians’ sister, Marie Fouchour, took part in the ceremony and shared some memories of her younger brother.
“I lived here all my life,” she said. “And when I started doing a little bit of math I realized that my little brother lost a lot of friends that day.”
Christians returned to the town he loved, and was greeted with a standing ovation by local dignitaries, a Navy officer and some classmates.
“My friends back home are so happy and it’s incredible that everybody wants to come out and welcome my brother back to Pearl Harbor. He wasn’t even in town (when the attack happened) and yet here he is, all alone and looking like a workman,” Fouchour said.