COMMERCE (CBSDFW.COM) – Former President George H. W. Bush, a decorated a World War II veteran, commemorated the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in a public ceremony at his Presidential Library at Texas A&M University.READ MORE: Three-Year-Old Girl Shot In Fort Worth
The 92 year old former President, along with former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, honored 27 fellow World War II veterans who came. Among them, Aaron Cook, 94, who says he still remembers Pearl Harbor vividly.
He was there December 7, 1941. “It was a pleasant day like the rest of them, and suddenly we heard these airplanes came over and somebody said, ‘What’s going on?’ ”
Cook says he was at the naval station on Ford Island, during the first wave of arriving Japanese bombers.
He remembers rushing to a commanding officer. “I said we’re under attack. He said who is it? He said the British? No. The Dutch? Must be the French. No one had a clue the Japanese have the audacity so it was certainly a shock.”
More than 2,300 people were killed.
During Wednesday’s ceremony, pilots used five World War II era planes to perform a flyover: a P40 Warhawk, P51 Mustang, Mark 9 Spitfire, Wildcat, and a Corsair.
Parked outside the Bush Library stood a TBM Avenger, the same type of plane former President Bush flew. He signed the tip of the propeller. All six aircraft belong to the Texas Flying Legends Museum in Houston.
When the Japanese attacked, Mr. Bush was 17. But he enlisted on his 18th birthday, June 12, 1942. He became the youngest Navy pilot during the war and was rescued after his plane was shot down. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.READ MORE: Source: TCU Will Hire SMU's Sonny Dykes As New Coach
The Texas A&M Singing Cadets performed for both the former President and Senator Dole. The Library presented Dole with the George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service.
Dole called it an honor.
“This is a great country. We are proud to be Americans, and I really loved these cadets.”
Dole enlisted in the Army in 1942.
He was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star after trying to rescue a fellow soldier who came under fire during the war in Europe. Dole was seriously injured, and even though his doctors thought he wouldn’t survive, he recovered more than doctors believed he could.
His right arm and hand remain paralyzed.
It was President Franklin Roosevelt who said December 7th is “The date which will live in infamy.”
Aaron Cook said, “I grew up in one day.”MORE NEWS: Upsets By North Texas, Others Push Bowl-Eligible Teams To 83