JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Pearl Harbor was a smoky and chaotic scene 73 years ago. Robert Beaudreau said it's a scene that could never be erased from his memory.
"It'll live with me forever," said Beaudreau.
Beaudreu is now 95 years old. He remembers the Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base that killed more than 2,000 sailors, Marines and soldiers.
"I'm proud to be here," said Beaudreau.
Beaudreau was honored on a ship at Mayport.
The aviation chief said he's thankful to be among those who survived and is grateful for every day he's lived since.
"I lost a lot of buddies on the ship the USS West Virginia. The West Virginia was a great ship, it was sunk and they brought back up the following year, and moved it to the dry dock and patched up all the holes put back to sea again," said Beaudreau.
Retired Navy Capt. Clarence Hill said Beaudreau's story is better than any in the history books.
"There's nothing better than learning from the people that did it there, were there and know firsthand what it's like," said Hill.
It's an experience Beaudreu said he won't forget, just like the men who fought and died by his side.
"We took eight torpedos and we were sunk at Pearl Harbor," said Beaudreau.
Sunday's event may have brought back painful memories, but it also reminded Beaudreau of the camaraderie of war and his role in an event that shaped this country.
"It was just the greatest experience, but this is the greatest experience I ever had," said Beaudreau.