PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — One of the worst days in American history was the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. It happened the morning of December 7, 1941. Frank Emond was one of the sailors there. He was standing on the deck of the USS Pennsylvania.
“I was a member of the Admiral’s Band on the Battleship Pennsylvania,” said Emond. “We were standing on the deck where we could see all of the harbor. It was a beautiful day, Then, I looked up and saw a little line of planes coming in from the right. We looked again, and the skies seemed to be getting full of these little planes and you could see the big red spot on the fuselage.”
One of those planes headed straight for Emond’s ship.
“When that torpedo plane went by, it was so close you could see in the cockpit. The pilot was shooting at us, you could see the little red flashes of the gun. After a while, the whole ship shook up and down and of course, we knew we had been hit.”
The sights, the smells, the noise of that day 77 years ago is still fresh in Emond’s mind, he says.
“I can still see what it looked like with that torpedo plane that flashed by the stern so close. If I close my eyes, I can still see it, as if it was still there.”
Frank is 100 years old now. His active military service long behind him, but his service to humanity lives on at Naval Hospital Pensacola, where he volunteers two days a week. Having lived so much history, we wondered if Frank had something to say to us today, as we move into tomorrow. He did and his message is “carry on.”
“There’s a lot of good and evil in the world. Good things happen to you and bad things happen to you. And when bad things happen to you, you have to improvise or devise ways to overcome the bad things. Just don’t give up. The Lord will take care of you.”
As to the obvious question of whether Emond has a secret to long life, he answered this way.
“I don’t know if I have a secret. I try to avoid stress and strain. I try to be nice all the time. I try to stay away from the negative.”
After a long pause, Emond added, “I know who I am, and I know what I do, and I’m at peace with myself.”
Mr. Emond will be riding in the Pensacola Veteran’s Day Parade this Monday. The parade begins at 9 a.m. If you’d like to hear the entire stanza of “Eternal Father,” or as it’s also known, The Navy Hymn as sung by Frank, go to our website, wkrg.co