CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) – Ceremonies were held Wednesday honoring victims and survivors of the attacks on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago.
Some survivors made the trip back to Pearl Harbor to share their stories.
Several local veterans also commemorated the somber day by gathering for lunch at the Cleveland Draft House in Clayton.
George Cattelona was one of the veterans.
He enlisted in the Marines in 1943.
His service led him to the Battle of Iwo Jima, one of the bloodiest fights of the war.
His memories of arriving on the Japanese island are vivid.
“Volcanic ash was our biggest problem. You could walk in it and you would sink up to your ankles,” said Cattelona.
In his 27 days on Iwo Jima, he took shrapnel to the shoulder, saw fellow Marines fall, and witnessed the iconic act of U.S. flags being raised.
Close to that time but nearly halfway around the world, Talmadge Infinger was with the U.S. Army in Belgium.
“I spent most of my time in WWII right there getting supplies off the ship and to railroad cars, and head on to the front line,” said Infinger.
Infinger remembers the moment he heard Pearl Harbor was attacked.
Only in high school at the time, war was the last thing on his mind.
“I said, ‘I’m 16, you’re not drafted until you’re 18, by that time the war will be over.’ But how wrong that was,” recalled Infinger.
Infinger spent two and a half years overseas and says he’s grateful for his experiences.
Both Infinger and Cattelona are part of a dwindling generation of veterans continuously honored by family and friends.