It’s been 77 years, Dec. 7, 1941, since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and few survivors remain, but the attack hasn’t been forgotten.
The attack killed 2,335 American service members and wounded 1,143. The bombing resulted in 18 ships being sunk or run aground, including five battleships.
North Dakota suffered losses at Pearl Harbor. Of the 15 North Dakotans on the USS Arizona, one survived. Lt. Cmdr. Paul J. Register was one of the North Dakotans who died on the Arizona. Later in World War II, the Navy christened a new destroyer escort the USS Register in his honor. Register’s nephew, Lt. Francis R. Register, a decorated Navy fighter pilot, was later killed near the Aleutians.
North Dakota survivors of Pearl Harbor formed a chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and received a charter in 1966. The annual meeting provided an opportunity for about 30 men and women along with their families to reconnect.
When their membership dwindled to four they voted to give up the charter in 2007.
In June 2017, one of the North Dakotans killed at Pearl Harbor finally returned home. Gunner's Mate 1st Class Arthur C. Neuenschwander, 33, died on the USS Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma was hit by several torpedoes and the ship rolled in its berth and 429 sailors were killed. Two years later, the ship was righted and human remains recovered, though only 35 could be identified. Efforts began in 2015 to recover the 388 unknown remains buried in mass graves and identify them using DNA analysis. Neuenschwander was among the 30 unknown sailors who have been identified by 2017.
His remains were brought back to his family in Fessenden, where he had been raised. He was buried with honors.
The military doesn’t forget its fallen and the anniversary of Pearl Harbor reminds the nation not to forget.