Phoenix-area World War II vet to commemorate milestone virtually

Sep 1, 2020, 12:15 PM | Updated: 12:51 pm
(Photos courtesy of Jack Holder)...
(Photos courtesy of Jack Holder)
(Photos courtesy of Jack Holder)

PHOENIX – Jack Holder, 98, is a veteran of World War II. He served in the Navy as an aviation machinist’s mate, first class. He witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

And this year, he was supposed to travel from his home in Chandler and return to Hawaii.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. Holder was one of a group of veterans invited to take part in a ceremony commemorating the end of the war.

However, due to coronavirus fears, travel was cancelled for the health and safety of the attendees.

“I was sure disappointed when they cancelled that trip,” Holder said.

That trip would have given him a chance to return to Pearl Harbor, where he was on Dec. 7, 1941, when the base was attacked by the Japanese.

“I saw the [USS] Oklahoma turn turtle-up, I saw guys swimming through burning oil in the water,” he recalled.

“I guess the most vivid remembrance I have is thinking ‘God, please don’t let me die in this ditch.'”

That day was nearly eight decades ago, but it’s burned in Holder’s mind.

“It seems like yesterday,” he said. “I can still see it all.”

Even though he can’t return for the commemoration in-person, Holder will still get a chance to experience the event.

A live Facebook watch party will take place Wednesday beginning at 11:10 a.m. Arizona time.

It won’t be the same as going to Hawaii, but Holder is still looking forward to the event. It’s another chance for people to remember the events he experienced firsthand.

“They refer to us as the ‘Greatest Generation,’ but I tell these kids that they could be the next ‘Greatest Generation,'” he says.

“It’s a pleasure to be able to talk to them about what happened.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Photo Courtesy of Taylor Dintzner)...
Danny Shapiro

ASU fraternity raises more than $60K for TGen, shaves heads in honor of former member

An ASU fraternity has raised over $60,000 for a former member who used to work for TGen in Phoenix before his 2020 death.
6 hours ago
(File photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)...

Arizona Thanksgiving holiday DUI arrests down slightly from last year, up from 2019

DUI arrests over the Thanksgiving holiday this year fell slightly from 2020 but was higher than 2019, the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said Monday.
6 hours ago
(Facebook photo/City of Phoenix, AZ USA)...
Torrence Dunham

Maricopa County ranked No. 1 in talent attraction for second consecutive year

The annual Talent Attraction Scoreboard by labor market analyst EMSI has Arizona being No. 1 in talent attraction for the second consecutive year and fourth time in the last six years.
6 hours ago
(Pexels photo)...

Home warranty company agrees to $150K settlement in Arizona over fake reviews

More than 1,300 Arizonans who purchased home warranty services from a company accused of misleading consumers will get restitution as part of a consent judgment, Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s Office announced Monday.
6 hours ago
(File photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)...
Kimberly Silverio-Bautista I Cronkite News

Arizona’s ‘QAnon Shaman’ gets new lawyer, sets up likely appeal of Jan. 6 guilty plea

Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man who pleaded guilty to his role in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, switched attorneys Monday, laying the groundwork for a possible appeal of his plea and 41-month sentence.
6 hours ago
Maricopa County flag...
Kevin Stone

7 finalists revealed for vacated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors seat

Seven finalists have been selected for the interview stage in the process to replace Steve Chucri on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
PNC Bank

How one organization supports early childhood literacy for the most vulnerable

Nearly two out of every three children in low-income communities don’t own a single children’s book, a fact that ultimately could have profound impacts even before entering kindergarten, according to Arizona nonprofit Southwest Human Development.
Phoenix-area World War II vet to commemorate milestone virtually