One of the last Navy Veterans who survived Pearl Harbor, has died at the age of 96
Millions were affected by the devastation World War II, but as years go by the people who were there to witness it and tell the stories about it are getting older and passing away. 2019, is the year that we mark 75 years of the end of World War II, and we pay our respects to the men and women who were responsible for its end, and we spend time with those who are still with us and thank them for their service. Unfortunately, this year, we have lost one of the last survivors of World War II, who was involved in the Pearl Harbor attacks.
Only days after he celebrated his 18th birthday, Aaron Cook, from Fort Worth, Texas, went and enlisted in the US Navy in 1940. A year after he joined, he was transferred and stationed in Pearl Harbor. Cook witnessed and was involved in the surprise attack of Pearl Harbor, where more than 2400 people were killed. After the attack, the US announced that they would be involved in the war. Cook, who served as a US Navy Aviation Chief, passed away this year at the age of 96.
Before his death, Cook had talked about his experience on that day. In 2016, on the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Cook said that the day started like any other, it was sunny, and the weather was amazing. At 7:55, they had seen the planes flying really low and just thought it was some kind of practice, and nobody knew what was actually going to happen. Cook said that they have never seen planes flying so low and that they could even see the people operating the aircraft. When the first bomb was dropped, all the windows were shattered, everything in the room fell down. Even he and his friends were knocked down by the impact.
Aaron Cook was really fortunate to have survived the attack, and the day after the attack as the US stated that they would get involved in the war. September 7th was declared a day that will never be forgotten. Cook wanted to help out, so he and others volunteered to help with the bodies that were in the water. He said that the next day they got in boats and started taking bodies out of the water and bringing them back to shore. The bodies were identified by the dog tags that every soldier wore on their necks. Cook has said that it was the hardest and toughest day of his life dragging hundreds of bodies out of the water.
Aaron’s wife, Marjorie, said that he wouldn’t talk about the scenes and everything that happened that day. For years he avoided speaking about Pearl Harbor. She said that he was a fantastic storyteller but anything to do with that day he would just stop talking and stayed silent. More than three decades went by, and Aaron realized that he was one of the last people who survived the attack. And because he didn’t want people to forget about the people who lost their lives, he started talking about it. It began to be so important to him that people heard the stories and memories of that day and the people involved in the attack.
Back in 2016, the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Cook said that by telling the stories of the assault, it can prevent things like this happening ever again. Cook after his death, was buried in a small cemetery in Houston, alongside other veterans that were involved in Pearl Harbor. Like their stories that have reminded us of how precious life can be, we will forever be grateful for their service, and we will never forget them.