Legacy of a Pearl Harbor Survivor Published


By: Mark Loproto

One of the best routes to understanding the attack on Pearl Harbor is through the words of those who lived through it. On the 78th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, survivor Will Lehner published his personal account of the tragic events that unfolded on December 7, 1941, in a memoir titled Legacy of a Pearl Harbor Survivor.

The book follows 17-year-old Lehner as he enlists in the US Navy and finds himself stationed on the beautiful island of Oahu.

A Different Angle

Many Pearl Harbor books are told by men who were inside the chaos that unfolded at Battleship Row, but Lehner had a different perspective. Serving aboard USS Ward (DD-139), Will Lehner was witness to the first encounter with the Japanese, two hours before the aerial attack began.

In Legacy of a Pearl Harbor Survivor, Lehner writes about Ward’s encounter with a Japanese midget submarine, detailing how the crew reacted when they realized a foreign vessel was in American waters. The book takes readers through the events of December 7, 1941, as seen through the eyes of someone who watched it unfold.

Beyond Pearl Harbor

Legacy of a Pearl Harbor Survivor covers more than the Pearl Harbor attack. Lehner also discusses his wartime experiences in the Pacific Theater. The conflict left him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which he discusses intimately. The book chronicles the effects of the war on the young men who fought it and how they overcame—or simply lived with—the things they saw and experienced.

It’s not all war and tragedy in Lehner’s account, however. He shares his life experiences beyond World War II, which helps show how different life was before the attack on Pearl Harbor and how being drawn into the War in the Pacific led to significant and many positive changes within the United States.

Lehner’s book may be one in a sea of Pearl Harbor memoirs, but the events of December 7, 1941 are worth hearing and reading about from different perspectives. The more written accounts that come out about the Pearl Harbor attack, the longer the memory of the “date that will live in infamy” will stay with us. Books like Legacy of a Pearl Harbor Survivor will allow younger generations to read about the attack in the words of those who lived through it, even long after they have passed on.

At the time of the release of Will Lehner’s new book, the Pearl Harbor and World War II survivor was living in an assisted living community in central Wisconsin, still generously sharing his stories about the attack and the war that followed.

Proceeds from the book are going to Never Forgotten Honor Flight, a non-profit organization that flies veterans to war memorials around the country.

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