My father, Raymond J. Haerry, is one of only 21 known living survivors of the attack and subsequent sinking of the Battleship USS Arizona on December 7, 1941. He was nineteen years old on that “Day of Infamy”. Fortunately, he was topside when the nearly one ton armor piercing bomb penetrated the deck and caused a massive internal explosion that ripped the great ship apart. He was manning an anti-aircraft gun when he was suddenly blown into the waters of Pearl Harbor. The water was literally on fire from the fuel oil that was spilling from the ship’s ruptured tanks. He managed to swim to nearby Ford Island by swimming underwater and surfacing to push the flaming oil aside with his arms in front of him. He has told me about that day many times over the past fifty years. He still remembers the horror of swimming past burning corpses and body parts as he struggled to swim to the relative safety of Ford Island.
My father is almost 88 years old now and is in failing health. He suffers quietly with a myriad of illnesses to be expected for a man of his age. To help generate some extra income, he has consented to hand sign, date and number some archival photographs. He will hand sign and date the photos December 7, 2009; commemorating the Sixty-Eighth Anniversary of that fateful day that thrust the United Stated into World War II. The photos are 8”x10” in size and are produced on high quality, heavy, photographic paper suitable for framing. Each photo is hand signed and dated in blue ink. The photos will be limited in number depending on the number of orders, but in no case shall they exceed 500 for each photo being offered. You can find my father and the other 20 living survivors listed at USSArizona.org.
This is a unique opportunity to own a piece of history autographed by a man who was there on that very day. Before September 11, 2001, this was the single most costly and devastating attack on the United States of America when not at war. The USS Arizona suffered by far the largest number of deaths because of the massive internal explosion. Nearly everyone who was below deck was killed. It is estimated that over 1,100 men are still entombed in the sunken hulk; and to this day, oil still leaks to the surface around the ship. The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor is a beautiful tribute to the men that perished on a day that began as a lazy and peaceful Sunday morning. I consider my father a hero and a true patriot, and I am proud to carry his name. On behalf of my father, we wish to thank you in advance.