Pearl Harbor Day rememberedPublished 9:55pm Friday, December 6, 2013
When the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor came 72 years ago Saturday, Arthur Whitner was still in high school.
However, after the United States entered World War II following that fateful day in 1941, where more than 2,400 Americans died at the hands of the Japanese navy, the war would drag on for almost four years. The U.S. Army drafted Whitner after he finished high school and sent him to Europe in 1945.
“I went right straight to the front,” said Whitner, who now resides at Autumn Care of Suffolk.
Whitner, then just 20 years old, started out in England and was assigned to the forces of the legendary Gen. George S. Patton. From there Whitner and his comrades went to France and Germany, following the retreat of German forces.
“We went all the way up and took one camp on the river,” said Whitner, now 88. “Then we got on a ship and came back to England.”
Whitner was sent back to the United States for more training in preparation for going to Japan, he said. But the Army never sent him there, as the end of the war in Japan came in August of that year.
Whitner later worked as a farmer and was known around town for his collards and strawberries, Autumn Care staff said.
Whitner said it is important to record the stories of World War II veterans while they are still living.
“There are not many left,” he said. “Most of the people who were older than I have passed on.”