PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Friday President Obama visited Hiroshima, becoming the first sitting president to travel there since the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city during World War II. 94-year-old Alex Horanzy was in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked in 1941.
94-year-old Alex Horanzy doesn’t consider himself a hero.
“No, I don’t consider myself a hero; there are people like me all over the place,” Horanzy said. “Because they’re saying I’m a hero because Pearl Harbor survivors are dying off, no I am just a regular grunt in the service.”
Horanzy was in the 42nd infantry division for the United States Army when Japanese planes swarmed Pearl Harbor and attacked.
“I was sleeping, I didn’t get to be until 2 o’clock in the morning and the bombs came over our barracks and were flying by,” he tells.
His division fought back, and the remaining survivors were forced to enter an unwelcome war. Horanzy spent much of the time in New Guinea, where he contracted malaria, and was discharged in 1945, after US war planes dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
“It was a job we had to do,” he said. “I know some people were against it, I know some Americans were against it, but that was a job we had to do. We were there to save lives.”
And now, as he sees President Obama visit Hiroshima, Horanzy hopes it strengthens our relationship with Japan.
“As time moves on, everyone wants healing,” Horanzy said.