One might expect that, at 106 years old, Pearl Harbor survivor Ray Chavez would be ready to retire from being a public figure. But for the oldest known Pearl Harbor survivor, that duty to the public never ends. Recently, a flight the veteran was on made a stopover in Wichita, KS. There, Chavez was met with an outpouring of respect and appreciation from local veterans groups.

After landing, Chavez was greeted by groups that came to honor his service aboard the minesweeper USS Condor (AMc-14) during the 1941 Japanese attack. While he was in Wichita, he stopped to speak to local residents and made a visit to Memorial Park. The town presented him with a brick bearing his name, which would be added to the memorial to commemorate his time in the US Navy.

An Unending Call of Duty

True to form, Ray Chavez wasn’t on his way to a personal vacation for Memorial Day weekend when his flight stopped over in Wichita. Rather, he was on his way to Washington, DC, where he was scheduled to speak during a Memorial Day event. At 106 years old, and more than 76 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Chavez still feels a duty to act as a voice of the survivors and those who were lost, retelling the events of that long-ago morning as if they had happened yesterday.

Ray Chavez in 2016

Ray Chavez in 2016

Pearl Harbor’s oldest survivor is one of the few remaining veterans of the December 7th assault, and he’s still eager to discuss the events that unfolded that quiet Sunday morning. Like Jim Downing, another Pearl Harbor survivor who passed away in February of 2018, Ray Chavez is tireless in his efforts to preserve the memory of Pearl Harbor.

Ray Chavez demonstrates that just because the attack occurred more than 76 years ago doesn’t mean that he feels relieved of his duty to pass his stories along to new generations. Although he’s long since retired from the United States Navy and the , he continues serving the nation by keeping the memory of Pearl Harbor alive.

Chavez knows, like Jim Downing knew, that passing down the memory of the attack that launched the Second World War for the United States is important to the future of the nation. Ray Chavez, even as a centenarian, continues his service to his country by passing along the history that he lived through.

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