"Everything was burning" - Quincy veteran remembers Pearl Harbor - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

"Everything was burning" - Quincy veteran remembers Pearl Harbor

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

December 7 marks the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack on the Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, beginning our country's involvement in World War II.  

One Quincy veteran remembers it like it was yesterday.

Louis Demers served on the USS McCall, a destroyer tasked with protecting the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.  

He'd been stationed at Pearl Harbor for nearly a year before the attack, and just happened to be out at sea on training exercises that day.  

He says his crew was too far out to help, but he'll never forget coming back a few days later.

"Everything was burning, and you could smell burned flesh, and oil on the water was real thick - I don't know, five, six inches thick, at least," Demers said. "Boats were running around back and forth to ships, and smoking, and smelling..."

Demers says their main task after arriving was turning around and getting back out.

"We were scared.  I mean, we didn't know if the Japanese were going to follow up on invasion, or what.  We worked practically 24 hours straight putting ammunition on board, food on board, and fuel, naturally, and get underway right away to get out of Pearl, and head out to the Pacific."

Pearl Harbor was only the beginning of Demers' time in the war. He served for years afterwards, continuing to protect the Enterprise.  He signed up with the reserves afterwards, then found himself called back to active duty during the Korean War.

Today, he remains quite active, holding two part time jobs, including one as a lifeguard.

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