Honoring a Pearl Harbor Survivor
By Paula Green
President Franklin D. Roosevelt described December 7, 1941, “as a date which will live in infamy.” For on this day, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. The strike happened in Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii. A local man, George Pann, 100, of Magnolia Place in Saxonburg, is a Pearl Harbor survivor. At the time of the bombing, Pann was 19 years old and was a PFC in the United States Army. He was assigned to the 55th Coast Artillery in Oahu. Pann was in the coastal artillery and was a gunman. He feels fortunate to have survived the attack. It was 8 a.m. and Pann was eating breakfast when suddenly mayhem ensued. “The events of that day were indescribable. I was scared at first, but then I realized that I had a job to do, and I did what I was told to do,” Pann said.
Sadly, one soldier was killed and three were wounded in Pann’s platoon on that tragic day. When the war ended, Pann joined a Pearl Harbor survivors group. “Every two years, we would hold a reunion. We met in different states, but we would return to Oahu every five years. I have been back to Hawaii ten times. As much as you don’t want to, you never forget that day,” Pann noted.
Pann enlisted in the service when he 18 years old, and he was not drafted. He had a cousin who was in the military, so he decided to follow in his footsteps. Pann served for three years, and when his military career ended, he worked for PPG for 38 years. Pann never married, and he has enjoyed a single life.
“George is a humble man, and we love having him as a resident,” said Amie Feeney, director of quality assurance at Magnolia Place.
Pann has resided at Magnolia Place for the past three years. He celebrated a major milestone this past year, and he turned 100 years old on April 21. “We declared that ‘George Pann’ day. We had a nice celebration for George. In the morning, we had a petting zoo. Later that day, the boy scouts held a flag retirement and raising ceremony. George’s centennial party also included a parade sponsored by the American Legion Riders and Cabot Cruisers. In addition, State Rep. Marci Mustello presented George with a declaration from the House of Representatives. It was a special day for a special guy,” said Feeney.
Northern Connection magazine salutes George Pann for his bravery and service to our country, and we also congratulate him on his centennial milestone!