TWIN FALLS • About 60 people filled the greatroom at Bridgeview Estates on Friday afternoon for a ceremony honoring a local man who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
Bill Bridges, now 92, said he was knocked out of bed when the first bomb hit the USS Utah, which was next to Bridges’ ship, the USS Raleigh.
Bridges was presented a certificate in honor of his service by Kay Lynn Johnson, the community liaison director at Hospice Visions.
Members of the Army National Guard’s 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team honored Bridges by presenting him with a coin.
“We just all want to be a part,” Steve Gilbert, Jr. vice commander in the Twin Falls VFW said. “We want to honor those who gave so much.”
“Just look across the room and see the veterans here,” Gilbert, who is also Sr. vice commander in the Marine Corp League and chaplain for the Disabled American Veterans, said.
Gilbert said he feels it is important for veterans groups to continue to teach new generations about their sacrifices.
Twin Falls Vice-Mayor Don Hall spoke at the ceremony and thanked all the veterans and present service members in attendance.
“We remember,” he said. “We truly remember.”
As a 21-year-old, Bridges was a Seaman First Class and the Gunner’s Mate Striker aboard the Raleigh. Since the ship just returned from having torpedo practice runs, their guns were still loaded.
“We were ready for them,” he said.
Bridges’ daughter, Audrey Kinch, said her family always grew up knowing about her father’s service and experiences at Pearl Harbor.
“It was just a part of life,” she said.
Though the attack on Pearl Harbor was a significant event in her father’s life, Kinch said it didn’t weigh too heavily on him.
“He’s grateful he survived. He had some close calls,” she said. “He just felt very blessed in a lot of ways.”