The oldest surviving veteran of Pearl Harbor has made a Memorial Day trip to our nation’s capital to honor and remember those who went before him.
Ray Chavez first met with President Donald Trump Thursday, KSWB reported.
Chavez had a packed schedule over the long holiday weekend. After the presidential audience, he then met with Secretary of Defense James Mattis Friday and toured monuments Saturday. Sunday he had the honor of unveiling a new painting that hangs in the Pentagon showing the attack on Pearl Harbor, KSWB reported.
But on Monday, he takes part in the 150th Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington Cemetery as a guest of Mattis followed by riding on a float in the national Memorial Day parade, KSWB reported.
Chavez was a quartermaster on the USS Condor during the attack on Pearl Harbor, KSWB reported.
The Condor, a minesweeper, found a Japanese submarine in restricted waters just before the attack. He says he remembers the day that will live in infamy is if it were yesterday, Hawaii News Now reported.
“I saw all the ships on fire, a terrible smoke screen, all through the harbor covering the ships. It never goes away, what you see and learn,” Chavez told Hawaii News Now.
He still remembers his shipmates all these years later.
“I never will forget them. I met some real fine young men,” Chavez said.
Chavez also had a message for younger generations.
“It’s very important that the younger generations know and learn the meaning of war,” the veteran told Hawaii News now.” I would do it again if I was called to active duty, but chances are they’ll never call me.”