The oldest survivor of Pearl Harbor celebrates his 105th birthday

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Flag-waving supporters lined the sidewalk outside the National World War II Museum in New Orleans on Wednesday to greet the oldest survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as he celebrated his upcoming 105th birthday. Beach, Calif., told reporters after posing for photos with his great-grandson, who is about to turn 5, his 21-month-old great-granddaughter and six other World War II veterans, all in their 90s. Eskenazi turns 105 in January 30 .He boarded an Amtrak train in California on Friday for the trip to New Orleans. Other veterans representing the Army, Navy and Marine Corps flew in for the event. They came thanks to the Soaring Valor Program of actor Gary Sinise’s charitable foundation, which is dedicated to helping veterans and first responders. As part of the program, tours to the museum are organized for veterans of the Great Patriotic War and their guardians. Eskenazi was a private first class in the army when the attack took place. His memories include waking up to a bomb falling but not exploding near where he slept at Schofield Barracks, hearing explosions as the battleship USS Arizona was sunk by Japanese bombs, and machine gun fire from enemy aircraft that was kicking up dust around him after he volunteered to drive a bulldozer across a field so it could be used to clear airstrips. “I don’t even know why — my hand just went up when they asked for volunteers,” Eskenazi said. “No one else raised their hand because they knew it meant death… I did it unconsciously.” He was at Schofield Army Barracks when the attack began on December 7, 1941, which brought the United States into the war. About 2,400 soldiers were killed. Eskenazi and his fellow veterans lined up for photos among exhibits of World War II-era planes and Higgins landing craft. “Thanks, boys, for giving us a country worth fighting for,” veteran Billy Hall, who rose to the rank of major in the Marine Corps after enlisting in 1941, shouted to well-wishers. Video: Commemorating the 81st Anniversary of Pearl Harbor The museum opened in 2000 as the National D-Day Museum and has since grown in size and scope.

Flag-waving supporters lined the sidewalk outside the National World War II Museum in New Orleans on Wednesday to greet the oldest survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as he marked his upcoming 105th birthday.

“It’s a great feeling,” Joseph Eskenazi of Redondo Beach, Calif., told reporters after posing for photos with his great-grandson, who is about to turn 5, his 21-month-old great-granddaughter and six other World War II veterans. 90 for everyone.

On January 30, Eskenazi turns 105 years old. On Friday, he boarded an Amtrak train in California to travel to New Orleans. Other veterans representing the Army, Navy and Marine Corps flew in for the event.

They came thanks to the Soaring Valor Program of actor Gary Sinise’s charitable foundation, which is dedicated to helping veterans and first responders. As part of the program, tours to the museum are organized for veterans of the Great Patriotic War and their guardians.

Eskenazi was a private first class in the army when the attack took place. His memories include waking up to a bomb falling but not exploding near where he slept at Schofield Barracks, hearing explosions as the battleship USS Arizona was sunk by Japanese bombs, and machine gun fire from enemy aircraft that was kicking up dust around him after he volunteered to drive a bulldozer across a field so it could be used to clear airstrips.

“I don’t even know why — my hand just went up when they asked for volunteers,” Eskenazi said. “No one else raised their hand because they knew it meant death… I did it unconsciously.”

He was stationed at Schofield Army Barracks when the attack that plunged the United States into the war began on December 7, 1941. About 2,400 soldiers died.

Eskenazi and his fellow veterans lined up to take pictures among exhibits of World War II-era planes and Higgins landing craft.

“Thanks, boys, for giving us a country worth fighting for,” veteran Billy Hall, who rose to the rank of major in the Marine Corps after enlisting in 1941, shouted to well-wishers.

Video: Remembering the 81st anniversary of Pearl Harbor

The museum opened in 2000 as the National D-Day Museum and has since grown in size and scope.

The oldest survivor of Pearl Harbor celebrates his 105th birthday

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