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Surviving Pearl Harbor Vets Recall ‘All Hell Breaking Loose’ On Dec. 7, 1941

Stanley Kozien, Lewis Kaplan Talk About 'Date Which Will Live In Infamy'

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Saturday marks the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl harbor.

Two survivors — one from New York, another from New Jersey — recall the events of Dec. 7, 1941. 1010 WINS reporter John Montone talked to 100-year-old Lewis Kaplan, of West Orange, N.J.

 — Lewis Kaplan –

Kaplan was an army private in Honolulu on Dec. 7, 1941. He was serving as an anti-aircraft gunner and recalled a quiet Sunday morning watching what he thought were U.S. military aircraft flying overhead but then spotting smoke rising from Pearl Harbor, Montone reported.

Kaplan’s battery began firing at the invading Japanese planes as, “All hell broke loose.”

It was at that moment that the then 28-year-old from Yonkers said he knew he would be going to war.

Kaplan has never gone back to Pearl Harbor, but it lives on in his mind’s eye. “You never forget something like that,” he said.

And when Montone said, “You are a member of “The Greatest Generation,” he replied with great pride, “That’s right.”

–Stanley Kozien–

Little places often breed big heroes.

From corner to corner, New York Mills, New York takes up 1.1 square miles of the planet. It’s where you’ll find the Ladies Auxiliary handing out fruit turnovers at the annual Bell Festival and where the library stood as a single room building until the 1970s.

Fourteen of the village’s residents were called to serve at Pearl Harbor. Edward Bator was killed at 19 aboard the USS Arizona.

Kozien at Waikiki Beach 1941 (Courtesy: New York Mills  Historical Society)

Kozien at Waikiki Beach 1941 (Courtesy: New York Mills Historical Society)

Stanley Kozien served as a gunner’s mate aboard the USS St. Louis. Mr. Kozien survived the Japanese attack on Dec. 7.

At age 91, he is the last surviving Pearl Harbor veteran from New York Mills.

His short-term memory is a little rusty, but when asked about the “date that will live in infamy,” he recalled every moment, every casualty and every emotion.

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