Lawter: "...but they're Japanese planes!"
It was 71 years ago, when the Empire of Japan attacked American forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Joe Lawter of Oklahoma City was in the Marine Corps, then. He was on the main deck of the U.S.S. Oklahoma that morning, preparing to sound "To The Colors" on his bugle. He then saw Japanese planes diving toward American battleships.
Lawter told the Corporal of the Color Guard. "He said: 'Lawter, you're paid to blow, not think.' And I said: 'but they're Japanese planes!' About that time, we got hit in the side by a torpedo."
Lawter survived World War Two and returned home to later teach at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, in Alva.
Lawter spoke about that day, during a 1988 reunion of Pearl Harbor survivors. The audio of Lawter's comments was provided to KTOK courtesy of the Oklahoma History Center.
Lawter died on December fourth, 1995. A memorial service was held three days later, on December seventh.
(Pictured: A rendering of the U.S.S. Oklahoma, as she capsized during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.)