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Nebraska woman honors late father, WWII veteran by visiting Pearl Harbor

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 6:51 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - It was 80 years ago when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7.

One Nebraskan made it down to Hawaii for the 80th anniversary on Tuesday.

But there was a different emptiness this year for Peg Murhpy as she stood on the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.

“We really miss him,” Murphy said.

Her father, Ed Guthrie of Omaha, Nebraska’s longest-living survivor of Pearl Harbor passed away earlier this year. He was 102 years old.

“It’s very hard,” Murphy said. “He’s been here for all of them, and we’re so fortunate to celebrate the 80th anniversary wit hall these other World War II vets. There are a few survivors here, but there are so few left.”

Over the years, Ed Guthrie shared his story because he wanted young people to know the history.

“Our ship never got hit,” he said in 2015. “I was approximately a mile from the Arizona.”

The USS Arizona sank that day, as did three other battleships. More than 2,400 troops and civilians were killed with another 1,000 or more injured. The attack sparked the United States’ entry into WWII.

At the time, the 23-year-old sailor’s job had been to maintain the electrical systems in ships but after the attack he was in full recovery mode.

“For three days, we was picking up bodies and taking them to the hospital,” he said in 2015. “Whatever they needed, we was doing it.”

On this day of remembrance, 34 Pearl Harbor survivors attended the reflective and somber ceremony on the island of Oahu — there were also more than 100 WWII veterans.

“It’s super emotional,” Murphy said. “There’s several people from Nebraska here and a lot of Iowans. We’re here supporting our fathers who served.”

80 years ago Ed Guthrie found a $5 bill floating in the ocean among all the lives lost. Ever since then, he carried it in his wallet as a reminder of how he came home when so many did not.

After his death in January, his daughter Peg placed it in a frame, along with the flag draped on his casket and his service medals, as a way to recognize not just her own father but for everyone’s contribution to the war.

“He would have loved to be with his comrades,” Murphy said.

Peg Murphy tells 6 News there’s still a bit of a Cornhusker connection. On Tuesday, she met a Pearl Harbor survivor who lives in Oregon but was born in Nebraska.

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