Pearl Harbor survivors seek donations for history book
BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
11/08/12 at 10:59 AM
As the number of people who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor more than 70 years ago continues to decline, Tulsa-area survivors are working to tell the stories of those who experienced it.
But to get those stories out, members of the Tulsa Last Man's Club - Tulsa-area veterans of Pearl Harbor - need help to publish the latest version of their book, which contains more than 50 autobiographical accounts from Dec. 7, 1941.
"It got too expensive to keep printing it," said Pearl Harbor survivor and Navy veteran Arles Cole, whose story is included in the book "Pearl Harbor Survivors and Their Stories."
The book contains autobiographical accounts of people who survived, but with only seven or eight survivors remaining in the area, they want to make sure their stories survive.
In 1999, the stories from 52 Pearl Harbor survivors who were in the Tulsa Last Man's Club were complied into a book called "Shadows of the Grandfathers." For the first edition, each of the 52 men wrote about his experience that December day.
The book was sold for several years, with the proceeds used to purchase flowers for military funerals and to put the book into every school library in the Tulsa area, Cole said.
The initial run of the book and subsequent revised editions, including "Pearl Harbor Survivors and Their Stories," have run out. Printing costs have made publication prohibitive, and no new copies have been available for several years.
More requests for a new edition of the book have led survivors and families to put together another edition, but additional funding is needed to complete the project, Cole said.
The latest edition will include more stories from veterans who survived that day.
The group is asking for donations to help cover the costs of another publication of the book and to help revive the club.
"Our vision is to get this out to where the kids can read it and put it in every school library in the Tulsa area and make the club healthy again," Cole said.
The number of Pearl Harbor survivors in Tulsa and much of northeast Oklahoma is about seven or eight now, Cole said. Only two or three of those veterans are able to walk on their own, he said.
"We're getting old; we're passing on," Cole said.
Just this month, on Sept. 6, one of the club members, Everett Lush, died at the age of 93.
Lush was swabbing the deck of the USS Helena when the attack began. He helped fire back at attacking Japanese planes from the deck of the ship but was able to make it off after the ship was rocked by several explosions.
His story is in the book.
The continued publication of the book will help keep those stories of sacrifice and dedication alive for generations, Cole said.
How to help
To help with the publication of the book or the revitalization of the Tulsa Last Man's Club, call Arles Cole at 918-296-1970.
Original Print Headline: Pearl survivors need help on book
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310
Tulsa Last Man's Club, of which Arles Cole is a member, has run out of copies of a book about Pearl Harbor survivors and is seeking donations to help publish a new edition. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World