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Sons & Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors share stories in newsletter

Carmen Harding has heard many firsthand accounts of Pearl Harbor.

“It takes my breath away. I am so honored to have been a part of their lives,” Harding said, of the veterans’ stories.

Perhaps the stories she knows best are the ones told by her father, Robert Van Druff. Then, he was a 22-year-old Fire Controlman in the Navy, stationed in Hawaii.

“He was reading Popeye the Sailor Man when the alarm sounded,” she said.

Harding’s now 97-year-old father tells a story of seeing a Japanese plane going down nearby.

“He came in strafing the ship. He was hit. He was on fire. And Dad remembers him looking over and waving at him as he went down,” Harding said.

Many stories now fill a newsletter that Harding helps put together for survivors and their families. The letter goes out to the Sons & Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, a group that Harding is a part of.

“I never dreamed that, you know, a little girl whose Daddy was at Pearl Harbor, that she really didn’t understand what the heck it was all about, would turn into something like this,” she said.

Photographs, letters, and memories fill her home.

“I think this fellow was a child survivor,” she said, pointing to a page in one of the newsletters.

A special 75th anniversary newsletter was delivered on Wednesday.

“There are so many stories that need to be remembered,” Harding said.

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