BELOIT, Wis. (WIFR) - Thursday marked the 76th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
There are few survivors left who can give a firsthand account of one of the most defining moments in American history, December 7, 1941.
97-year-old Stan Van Hoose of Beloit is one such hero.
He says he always wanted to be a sailor and enlisted in the Navy in 1940. A year later, he was stationed at Pearl Harbor, aboard the U.S.S. Maryland, one of eight battleships attacked. The Maryland was protected from direct torpedo hits because it was tied to another battleship which capsized during the invasion.
Van Hoose was involved in a total of seven battles over the course of WW II.
"This country here helps one another. We help every nation in the world. We've got men all over the world all helping to get their liberty. I have done my part. I feel very grateful and honored to God," Van Hoose said.
Van Hoose served in the Navy for eight years then moved to Beloit with his wife, who he met while in the service. Van Hoose survived a quadruple bypass and open heart surgery in 2012 at the age of 91. Today, he is healthy and medicine-free.