Oldest Pearl Harbor veteran dies at 106

As reported by The Conservative Brief on Nov. 24, 2018.

Ray Chavez at the White House.
Ray Chavez at the White House in May 2018

Ray Chavez, a man who was celebrated as the oldest living veteran of the Pearl Harbor attack, died Wednesday at the age of 106 in the San Diego suburb of Poway after a battle with pneumonia.

The mild-mannered Chavez became a national figure three years ago when he was recognized as the oldest survivor of the 1941 attack by other Pearl Harbor survivors, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

When praised for his service, his reaction was often to shrug, according to his daughter Kathleen Chavez. “I was just doing my job,” he would say.

His death was mourned in a tweet by the White House: “We are saddened to hear the oldest living Pearl Harbor veteran, Ray Chavez, has passed away at the age of 106. We were honored to host him at the White House earlier this year. Thank you for your service to our great Nation, Ray!

In May, President Donald Trump praised Chavez as he attended a Memorial Day service at Arlington National Cemetery.

Chavez “doesn’t look a day over 60,” Trump said. He called Chavez “truly an inspiration to all who are here today.”

Trump pledged, “We will never forget our heroes.”

Seventy-five years after the attack, Chavez said its memory still haunted him: “I still feel a loss … We were all together. We were friends and brothers. I feel close to all of them.”

Japan’s surprise attack crippled the U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet and killed 2,335 U.S. military personnel and 68 civilians.

Chavez suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder following the attack. He returned to his hometown of San Diego, where working in nature helped him recover from his symptoms of anxiety and shaking.

Chavez was not wounded in the attack, but he witnessed the aftermath in around-the-clock shifts.

Before the attack, Chavez helped identify and sink a Japanese submarine. After working through the early morning, he returned home to sleep. That’s when the bombers arrived.

In 2016, he recalled his wife waking him as the attack raged: “The Japanese are here, and they’re attacking everything,” she told him.

The harbor was in flames when he arrived.

After sifting through destruction for days, he was later assigned to a transport ship to ferry troops, tanks and other equipment to war-torn islands across the Pacific.

Chavez did not talk of the attack until its 50th anniversary. At that time, he began regularly attending anniversary events.

Chavez was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret. His daughter is his only survivor.

 

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SIGNIFICANT EVENTS ON JAN. 1 THROUGHOUT HISTORY

Throughout history, there are some significant events that happened on the first day of the year.  Here are few of them:

1622 – Papal Chancery adopts Jan. 1 as beginning of the year

1660 – 1st entry in Samuel Pepys’ diary

1673 – Regular mail delivery begins between New York and Boston

1772 – First traveller’s check issued (London)

1776 – General George Washington hoists the Continental Union Flag

1788 – Quakers in Pennsylvania emancipate their slaves

1797 – Albany replaces New York City as capital of NY

1808 – Congress prohibits importation of slaves

1818 – Official reopening of the White House

1847 – Michigan becomes the first state to abolish capital punishment

1852 – First U.S. public bath opens in New York City

1862 – First U.S. income tax goes into effect

1863 – Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery issued by President Lincoln

1880 – Building of Panama Canal begins

1892 – Ellis Island becomes reception center for new immigrants

1902 – 1st Rose Bowl game (Pasadena, California) (U of Mich-49, Sanford-0)

1907 – Theodore Roosevelt shakes a record 8513 hands in one day

1908 – First time ball signifying new year dropped at Times Square

1912 – Sun Yat-sen forms Chinese Republic

1913 – Post Office begins parcel post deliveries

1914 – First scheduled airline flight, from St. Petersburg to Tampa, Florida

1934 – Alcatraz officially becomes a federal prison

1935 – 1st Sugar Bowl & 1st Orange Bowl

1954 – Rose & Cotton Bowl are 1st sport colorcasts

1960 – Johnny Cash plays first of many free concerts from behind prison bars

1968 – Evil Knievel fails in his attempt to jump the Caesar’s Palace fountain

1971 – Cigarette advertising banned on radio and television

1975 – Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell, and Mardian convicted of Washington Watergate crimes

1977 – First woman (Jacqueline Means) is formally ordained as Episcopal priest

1978 – Pres. Ford signs 1st major revision of copyright law since 1909

1985 – U.S. first mandatory seat belt law goes into effect (New York)

1990 – David Dinkins is sworn in as the first black mayor of New York City

1993 – Cigarette advertisements are banned in NYC’s MTA

1994 – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) goes into effect

1995 – Last “Far Side” by cartoonist Gary Larson

1998 – All California bars, clubs & card rooms must be smoke-free

2000 – Gisbourne, New Zealand population 32,754 is first city in the world to welcome in the new millennium

2002 – The Euro becomes the official currency for most of Europe

2008 – A New Hampshire law legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples comes into effect.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!