(Des Moines, IA) -- Stephanie Lynn says her grandfather did not talk much about his service in World War II until late in his life, but when he started talking, he had a lot to share. She says her grandfather, Lester Leland, was a cook on the USS Pennsylvania and was on duty the day of the Japanese attack 81 years ago. She says he had walked away to another compartment and was knocked off his feet by an explosion where had previously been standing. Leland watched the USS Oklahoma rollover and the USS Arizona's demise.
Lynn comes from a family of military service members. Her other grandfather was in the first wave on Omaha Beach in France on D-Day, a great-great-grandfather served in the Civil War. Lynn's uncles, cousins and her brother served in the military. Lynn herself was an Army Medic, and served two terms in Iraq.
Lynn says she's compiled a detailed history of the events on December 7th, 1941 and is often asked to speak to school children about what she's learned. She recommends parents talk to their children about it, so that Americans never forget what happened that day.
Lynn spoke at a Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony, held in Des Moines today (Wednesday), and hosted by the Sons of Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors.