Hillsborough County reflects on 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor Memorial ceremony at Veteran's Park in Hillsborough County on the 75th anniversary of the attack.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Many across the Bay area honored the men and women who served, and paused to honor lives lost on Wednesday, the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

More than 2,000 Americans were killed, and the attack propelled our country into World War II.

For George Kondas, 95-years-old and one of the few Pearl Harbor survivors left, he can’t forget.

Related: Children who lived through Pearl Harbor attack remember

“It was sickening,” he said.  “You could see bodies floating in the water and oil burning all around them and all over the place.”

Kondas remembers being just 20-years-old. That day was supposed to be his day off.

“I was just reaching back under my pillow to pull out a true detective magazine, which I always read … and then ‘bong bong bong’ our general quarters alarm went off.”

Nothing but chaos after that.

“I turned. Here come planes coming out of every direction at different heights, different altitudes, over here, over here, back there,” Kondas said.

“Like the president said, it’s a day of infamy that will live in memory for all of us, all of our nation.”

Kondas will never forget.

“It’s implanted back here. I can see it exactly today.”

He wants all to remember: freedom isn’t free.

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