Veteran found his calling when he heard of Pearl Harbor attack


President Franklin Roosevelt called Dec. 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy. It’s not hard to remember as the day the United States was drawn into World War II.  On a quiet Sunday morning, Japanese war planes attacked the U.S. Naval installation at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

Northport’s Jim Hixson was just 14 years old that day, but it’s a day he’s never forgotten.

“To have a country to bomb our men and women that were not fighting them and they had just blown them away, and I thought, well, we got to do something,” Hixon said.

It wasn’t long before Hixon was asking his parents when he could join the military. While Dad understood that protective desire, Mom was a different story, he said.

“She wasn’t too thrilled over it, but she knew that I wanted to go,” Hixon said.

When he turned 17 his father tagged along as Hixson signed his papers to join the Navy.  During his service, he was on a Navy mine sweeper crew, working around islands in the Pacific where Americans were engaged in battle.

After World War II ended, he was stationed on mainland Japan for nearly a year.

Every time Dec. 7 rolls around, it’s time to reflect on why Hixson felt so called to serve, he said.

“It bought a lot of the thoughts back to mind because I knew what this day was and why I went into the Navy is because of this particular day,” he said. “And I remember and I thought about the many young men who didn’t make it. I did, and it just seems like it was yesterday in a way. The thought never goes away when you see this date.”

Hixon is now 94 years old, in good health, still goes fishing and remains active in his Northport church. He was also recently honored as Grand Marshall for the inaugural Northport Veterans Day Parade.

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