70th anniversary may mark end for survivors

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Browsing National Public Radio this morning I decided to read through a few of the Pearl Harbor memorial pieces to see what commemorations were planned for Dec. 7. As I scrolled through The two-way news blog I noticed a link that said, this morning's Muskegon Chronicle reports. Now you can imagine my surprise. What is my tiny hometown newspaper – that has recently cut its distribution in half and lost the majority of its employees – doing in an NPR blog.

Dec. 7, 1941: The USS Shaw explodes during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (Photo courtesy of NPR)

Dec. 7, 1941: The USS Shaw explodes during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (Photo courtesy of NPR)

Buck Beadle, a survivor of the attacks and former Oceana County Sheriff Deputy, is the guest of honor at a special commemoration in Oceana today. Susan Harrison Wolffis who told Beadle's story and also wrote, Frozen in time: A small town changed forever on Dec. 7, 1941, talks about just how great of an impact that day was. The majority of Muskegon county lived through that time and Wolffis does a great job of showing how personal the attacks were to a town more than 5,000 miles away. 

Marge Peterson was 11-years-old at the time and saw first hand how those attacks devastated her neighborhood: “I was a kid, sure, but I was so aware,” Peterson says. “It was like everything changed overnight to me." Almost immediately, nine "boys" on White Street where she grew up in Shelby left for military service, some enlisting, some drafted, she said. 

There is more news coverage of today's 70th anniversary than any other due to the decision made by the The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association to vote on whether or not to disband the group. And of the thousands of survivors from the 1941 massacre, my surprise continues with how NPR managed to find a story from the Muskegon Chronicle to complement its feature.