SWFL’s only remaining Pearl Harbor survivor honored on anniversary
Southwest Florida’s lone Pearl Harbor survivor remembers the attack like it happened yesterday.
John Gideon was serving in the Navy when the Japanese bombs fell 76 years ago Thursday, killing more than 2,400 Americans and provoking the U.S. into World War II. He was an engineer on a boat hit by a blast.
“We started out pulling some of the fellas out who got in the fiery water of the ship, and then we had to get out,” Gideon said.
Th 97-year-old Gideon, who lives in North Fort Myers, was the honored guest at a ceremony for veterans Thursday at the Villa at Terracina Grand.
WINK News livestreamed the ceremony on its Facebook page:
PEARL HARBOR DAY: The attack happened 76 years ago today. A solemn ceremony is underway in Naples to honor veterans.
Japan and the U.S. became close allies after the war. But Japan’s motive behind the attack still remains a mystery to Gideon all these years later.
“There was no reason,” he said. “They didn’t get anything out of it. They just got the atomic bomb.”
The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the ultimate consequences for the Japanese, but American forces paid a heavy price, too. Gideon said Friday he felt lucky to be alive, knowing so many of his fellow servicemen lost their lives.
“It’s important to remember what those events did to our nation,” said Brig. Gen. Edward Dyer, the event’s keynote speaker.