(NECN: Mike Cronin) – Thomas Davey remembers the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor like it was yesterday.
“The impression it left on me was I had nightmares right up until I was in my forties,” Davey said.
He was only nine years old and lived about 1,000 feet from the USS Arizona.
“Around 8 a.m., it started getting very noisy outside,” Davey said.
He and his brother ran into the backyard to find two Japanese bombers flying above them.
“I remember looking up at him -- could see the pilot clear as a bell,” Davey said.
The explosions began, including the one that ultimately sunk the Arizona. Davey recovered a piece of scrap metal in the backyard.
“It rattled the house,” he said. “It broke some windows.”
Davey's father brought his family to an air raid shelter.
“There was a whole bunch of sailors lying alongside in the hallway along the wall,” Davey said, “and that's when I first saw blood. They were covered in oil, and there was moaning and groaning.”
In the days that followed, Davey -- along with many on the island -- helped to load machine gun bullets, and he was even issued a gas mask. In school, instead of fire drills, students practiced air raid drills.
“You'd run out, have your gas mask with you, run out and jump into trenches that were dug into our playground and put the gas mask on, and that was it,” Davey said.
Davey remembers the nation came together after the Pearl Harbor attacks. He said Americans had to change their lifestyles.
“And the sacrifices were made without anyone really complaining,” he said. “As a kid, I remember that vividly.”