WWII Veteran heading to Pear Harbor for 75th Anniversary

Next week marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack that changed the world and also changed the life of one Collinsville veteran.

Black and white photos are spread out on 93-year-old Carl Darden's kitchen table. He can tell you about every picture.

But there are a few that stand out. In one picture, Darden was 19-years-old. It was 1943 and he had just been drafted into World War II.

Two years after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Darden was sent to carry out a grim mission.

"They had raised The USS Oklahoma and we had to go down inside there and take out all of the things out of the locker that had their names on it and put it in a bag," he said. "We had to take the skeletons that we found there and we'd take them up and we got all of that done by the time my ship came in."

After a month on Oahu, Darden was back on the water. But he says his ship attacked from above.

"I went from one gun to another because the men on my gun, when the Japanese shell exploded, got everybody but I didn't even get a scratch," the WWII Veteran said. 

He says although his time in Pearl Harbor was short, it changed his life. He's leaving Saturday for the 75th anniversary.

"I already know of two people on The USS San Francisco that's still living besides me that are going to be there," he said.

He'll relive the memories in these photographs. Moments that he says have shaped his life, a life he hasn't taken for granted.

"Our freedom is worth everything that we gave for it and the most honorable heroes we had never came home," Darden said. 

Darden will spent 11 days in Hawaii. After the ceremony, he says he and his daughter will travel around the island, something he didn't get to do all those years ago.
 

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