BARSTOW — Simon Nasario remembers where he was 75 years ago, in bed sleeping when his grandmother rushed into his bedroom to wake him up. She wanted him to look outside
"We were in the backyard and there were three airplanes that just came real low and firing away at the base," Nasario said. "And one of those planes — the pilot looked down at us and smiled and waved. Just like he was doing us a favor."
It was the first indication for Nasario that Pearl Harbor was under attack. He was a 23-year-old private in the U.S. Army on weekend pass from his unit visiting his aunt and grandmother. He was born and raised in Hawaii.
Announcement's on the radio ordered all military personnel to report to their units, so Nasario rushed off to Schofield Barracks.
Nasario, now age 98, reflected on that faithful day, Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese war planes attacked Pearl Harbor, while sitting inside the Barstow Senior Center Friday eating lunch. On Sunday, Nasario was scheduled to fly back to Hawaii for the 75th anniversary ceremonies being held at Pearl Harbor.
He will also visit with friends and family still living in the area.
"Everybody thought they were having maneuvers. Even the service men," Nasario said. "But why were they having maneuvers with live ammunition? People were getting hurt and killed. They saw the red emblem on the planes.
"They came right over my house real low. I could see the traces going from the aircraft. Every so often they were over the reservation, the Marine base, they would drop a bomb. They would make a steep bank and turn left. When they turned left, and then go straight, it was kind of the gateway to the entrance of Pearl Harbor."
Nasario said the attack is still an important lesson for Americans.
"We all should be ready because all of sudden, that early in the morning, around 8 o'clock, something like that," he said. "I tell people, if we have to fight, fight on their lands. Not ours. You should have seen all the people running around, screaming, children crying because their parents were crying and screaming."
Mike Lamb can be reached at 760-957-0613 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter@mlamb.