Flag-waving celebrations line the pavement outside the National World War II Museum in New Orleans on Wednesday as the oldest survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor celebrates his 105th birthday. welcomed someone.
Joseph Eskenazi of Redondo Beach, Calif., told reporters after snapping a picture with his soon-to-five-year-old great-grandson, his 21-month-old great-granddaughter, and six World War II veterans. All are in their 90s.
Eskenazi turns 105 on January 30th. He boarded an Amtrak train in California on Friday for his trip to New Orleans. Other veterans representing the Army, Navy and Marine Corps attended the event.
They were visiting thanks to the Soaring Barrow Program, a project by actor Gary Sinise’s Charitable Foundation to help veterans and first responders. This program arranges museum trips for World War II veterans and their parents.
Eskenazi was a private first class in the army when the attack occurred. He remembers waking up when a bomb landed near where he was sleeping in Schofield Barracks, but it didn’t explode, and the explosion echoed when the USS Arizona was sunk by Japanese bombs. what he did, including machine-gun fire from enemy planes kicking the dust around him. After he volunteers to drive a bulldozer across the field so it can be used to clear the runway.
“I don’t know why. When they asked for volunteers, I just raised my hand,” Eskenazi said. “No one raised their hand because they knew it meant death.
He was in the Army’s Schofield Barracks when the attacks began on December 7, 1941. About 2,400 military personnel died.
Eskenazi and his fellow veterans lined up for a photo inside an exhibit of World War II aircraft and Higgins’ boat designed for shore landings.
“Thank you for providing us with a country worth fighting for,” shouted Billy Hall, a veteran who rose to the rank of major in the Marine Corps after enlisting in 1941, to those who wanted to.
The museum opened as the National D-Day Museum in 2000 and has since expanded in size and scope.