GAINESVILLE - America's warriors, including one of the first U.S. Marines to fight the Japanese in World War two, recalled their memories Sunday during the Tribute to Veterans at Gainesville First United Methodist Church.
When the Buckhead Youth Orchestra struck up the Marine Hymn,Pearl Harbor Marine veteran Mack Abbott stood tall and saluted.
He remembers that sunny December 7th Sunday 63 years ago when the sky filled with smoke from bombed ships and he fired back at the enemy.
"The Navy gave us credit for shooting down 29 of the 32 planes that were shot down that day..the Marine Hymn, I'm very proud of it," Abbott said.
Abbott recalled he was in his bunk at the Marine Barracks near Battle Ship Row when he heard an explosion and saw a Japanese bomber.
"I went downstairs, got some ammunition, and started firing at them from the parade field," Abbott remembered.
Abbott presented the colors during Sunday's tribute.
He is still active in veterans affairs as president of the Pearl Harbour Survivors Association.
Abbott also authored his personal account of the war entitled "The First and Last Shots fired in World War Two". (See separate story for more about Sunday's service.)