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Veteran Recalls Pearl Harbor, Being A Japanese-American Soldier

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It was 71 years ago Friday that Japan attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor. That attack brought America into World War II, and there are still veterans with us who were in Hawaii that day.

The veterans building near the state Capitol hosted a ceremony Friday morning to remember Dec. 7, 1941.

Edwin Nakasone, a retired U.S. Army colonel, was a 14-year-old in Hawaii that day. His parents were Japanese.

Nakasone is now 85 years old, but says he remembers the attack at Pearl Harbor like it was yesterday. (You can watch Nakasone speak of the attack in the video above.)

He recalled the attack before an audience at the ceremony. He said he was having breakfast when he heard explosions.

“All of a sudden, I see bombs are going off, I see the barracks going up, I see the hangers going up,” he said.

Vividly, Nakasone remembers a seeing a Japanese pilot fly a plane over the harbor.

“I can see [him] to this day – in my mind – with his cloth helmet and the goggles and the white scarf following in the wind,” he said.

Nakasone joined the U.S. Army in 1945, and served as an interpreter in occupied Japan. His son is a brigadier general, currently serving in Afghanistan.

Nakasone is the author of many books, articles, professional papers and he continues to present talks and programs concerning the attack on Pearl Harbor. On display Friday was one of his books, which talks about his experience being a Japanese-American solider.

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