80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Invasion

80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Invasion

Mark Arie, pictured here

12/7/2021 | Barb Oehlschlaeger-Garvey, Director

Today, December 7, is the 80th anniversary of the invasion of Pearl Harbor. Let us solemnly remember the sacrifices made that day, and in all the time that followed as a result. Two area men, one a Champaign resident, the other from Mattoon, were on Pearl Harbor that day. Mark Arie of Champaign, stationed at Wheeler Field, recalled running in a panic to shelter after realizing the attack was real.

“I was in my birthday suit, and I grabbed my shoes, socks,and coveralls and got off the top floor. I went down to the second floor and put on my coveralls, and I got down to the first floor and put on my shoes and socks.”

“Sergeant Bahan, he was on the back porch of the barracks with a machine gun. He was firing away and shot down one plane before I got downstairs. He’d been in World War I and he knew what was going on when the first bomb hit.”

Let's remember these young men and women today and, humbly, be grateful for their sacrifices. The Museum of the Grand Prairie preserves more than 200 cassette tapes and digital copies, from News-Gazette interviews of World War 2 veterans created in the 1990s. We remember and preserve this history for you.