At 104, Pearl Harbor survivor Navy Lt. Jim Downing was a confidant of presidents and a star of national television. From talk shows to a profile in Time magazine, Downing was feted as the second-oldest man who endured the events of Dec. 7, 1941. But Downing, who died from complications after surgery Tuesday, loved talking with school kids the most.

Even in the last months of his life, Downing would roll into classrooms and gymnasiums aboard his electric scooter. He did as much listening as talking.

“He really wanted to hear from these kids what they were interested in,” said friend Brett Clark.

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What Downing delivered to the students was an experience branded on his mind. He was ashore when Japanese planes struck the unprepared American Pacific Fleet in an attack that plunged the nation into World War II.

“The first thing I experienced was surprise,” Downing told the students during a 2016 visit to a local high school. “The next thing I experienced was fear.”

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Source:: The Denver Post – News


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Colorado Springs Pearl Harbor hero Jim Downing dies at 104

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