Saturday, December 7, 2013

'Out of the Ordinary' Way to Pearl Harbor

by Bill Doughty

Though at 90 he doesn't read much anymore, World War II Navy veteran Ewalt Shatz remembers enjoying books as a young man in the 1940s.

"I used to read love stories, westerns, books about history and especially anything out of the ordinary, strange things that get you wondering about things -- anything out of the ordinary."

Ewalt Shatz welcomed in Hawaii.
People are reading about Ewalt Shatz this week.

Bumped from a flight to Hawaii Wednesday, the Pearl Harbor Survivor was rerouted to another carrier: Hawaiian Airlines, where he says he got world-class, first-class treatment.

"I got to Maui (for a connection to Oahu) and I didn't know where to go.  A girl came along and helped me, and someone was calling my name on the loudspeaker.  They treated me like gangbusters," he said earlier today at the 72nd anniversary commemoration ceremony of the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

Shatz said an attendant flew with him from Maui to Honolulu, where he was met by dozens of military service member supporters, most in uniform, at nearly midnight.  He said he didn't have a chance to say "thank you" to the Hawaiian Airlines attendant.

While serving aboard ships in the 1940s Ewalt found time enjoy books.  Today he says he suffers from macular degeneration, so he can't read the way he once could.

"I used to go to the mess decks to read books cause there was better lighting," he said, "and I went through quite a few."

He was one of about 50-60 WWII veterans and more than 2,500 other guests who attended today's ceremony at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

131207-N-FF306-053 PEARL HARBOR (Dec. 07, 2013) Pearl Harbor survivors attend the 72nd Anniversary Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration. More than 2,500 guests, including Pearl Harbor survivors and other veterans, attended the National Park Service and U.S. Navy-hosted joint memorial ceremony at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. This year's theme was "Sound the Alarm," examining how thousands of Americans answered their nation's call after the attack and how the nation was united behind a common purpose throughout the war. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Rose Forest/Released)  Note: Ewalt Shatz is sitting center in black shoes and socks.

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