SOUTH BOSTON - The family of a local World War II veteran is trying to raise money to send him to the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
“It brings back the memories,” the veteran told FOX25.
A map on his wall charts Ed Hamilton's voyage across the ocean as he fought in World War II. Now the 91-year-old South Boston man has one more important journey he wants to take, he just needs a little help to do it.
“The day I turned 17, I was sworn in,” he said.
With a father in the Navy, the sea was in Ed Hamilton's blood and when Pearl Harbor was bombed, the cause was burned on his heart.
Later in the war, on April 6, 1945, Ed was aboard the USS Bennett manning the guns as a hot case man when Japanese kamikazes attacked the U.S. fleet near Okinawa, sinking the USS Colhoun and the USS Bush.
“We got lucky, when the plane came in, it had two bombs and it lost a bomb on its left wing, that would have hit our steaming boiler, and we would have joined the other two on the bottom,” he told FOX25.
It was one of many close calls on his four-year tour during WWII. At home, waiting for him to come home safe was his bride Melba, who he met on Revere Beach.
Seven decades later, the letters Ed and his bride wrote to each other have faded. Melba has passed and so have almost all of Ed's 400 or so fellow sailors from the USS Bennett.
“Of all the guys around here, I don't know of anybody that's left,” he said.
Although not a Pearl Harbor survivor, He wants to make one final journey to Pearl Harbor, but that trip down memory lane is expensive. Friends and family have started a GoFundMe page to help Ed travel to Hawaii for the 75th anniversary of that fateful day.
In Ed's eyes - it's simply a question of duty.
“So many of the guys can't go, if I’m able, I want to do it,” he said.
He hopes to make the trip and salute his fallen brothers before he becomes too old to make the trip across the entire country.
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