March 25, 2018
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2 Mainers share their stories about living through the Pearl Harbor attack

By Dan MacLeod, BDN Staff

The BDN’s Tim Cox in 2013 interviewed Robert Coles and Alma Vane, who were both in Honolulu 74 years ago today — when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, killing more than 2,400.

Both Coles and Vane ended up living in Machias.

Coles was a 17-year-old sailor at the time of the attack, while Vane was a little girl living on an Army base with her family.

Coles arrived at Pearl Harbor in October. He was given a choice of serving on one of three ships. He chose the USS Bagley, a destroyer. One of the other two choices was the battleship USS Arizona, which was a target in the Japanese attack and sank in less than 10 minutes after being heavily damaged.

“One thousand, one hundred and seventy-seven men died aboard the USS Arizona,” recalled Coles. “It could have been one thousand, one hundred and seventy-eight.”

Check out the video to see their stories.

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