Pearl Harbor survivor’s family honors his memory at Greenville ceremony


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Military veterans and their families in Greenville recognized the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks at a ceremony Tuesday, and one Pearl Harbor survivor’s family members were in attendance.

“He swam under the burning oil to get to the shore,” said Catherine Dews Nelson, whose father, Kenneth Kirwin Dews Sr., survived the attack when he was 19 years old.

The young sailor lived to tell the Pearl Harbor story to his family, which he raised in Pitt County.

“I’m just very proud to say that he was my father,” Nelson said.

15 years after her father’s death, the family continues to share his legacy.

“It really was the fabric of our family,” said Nelson. “He continuously reminded us that freedom was not free.”

The ceremony took place at the Town Common, where dozens gathered to pay their respects. Those who attended the ceremony prayed, sang, and honored the sailors who lost their lives.

No matter how many years go by, veterans said we should always remember what happened on December 7, 1941.

“It was a horrible milestone in our history, but it should never be forgotten and as our speaker said here it’s doomed to be repeated if you don’t remember these things,” said William Peel, an Army veteran.

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