NEW HAVEN -- A Connecticut survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941, was honored at the dedication of the new Pearl Harbor Memorial Park in New Haven Thursday.
The park at the corner of East Street and Forbes Avenue, was dedicated in a ceremony presided over by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Mayor Toni N. Harp and various military dignitaries.
But, the man of the hour was Floyd Welch, a retired U.S. Navy Electrician’s Mate, a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Welch, who still lives in East Lyme, was aboard the battleship USS Maryland, which had pulled into Pearl Harbor, the night before the first attack occurred at 7:53 am (HST).
"Sunday, as an electrician, I set up the church services on the quarter-deck," said Welch.
He had just come out of the shower when what turned out to be the wrong notification was sounded by bugle.
"We asked one another why are we having practice on Sunday morning," said Welch.
But, within about 15 minutes they knew it was no practice.
"We heard all of this noise above, but nobody told us it was the Japanese," Welch said.
The USS Maryland was among the first to get hit. Mr. Welch, who was 19 at the time, says he still thinks about the Pearl Harbor attacks every day.
"It didn’t take long for a huge dark, just the same as a cloud to form," said Welch. "You couldn’t hardly see from one ship to the other."
He says when he went topside, to a gun turret
"And a ship that was tied up to us was laying on its side," he said.
And, this afternoon, more memories. These more pleasant. He was presented with the Connecticut Veterans War Time Service Medal.
Mr. Welch will turn 98 in February.