Today marks the 68th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, in which Japanese forces sent over a dozen U.S. ships to the bottom of the harbor. In the middle of that attack was Coast Guardsman Willis Partridge, a signalman on the cutter Taney. In a little over an hour, the USS Arizona was destroyed, killing over 1,000 sailors, many of whom were trapped. Partridge was able to salvage the mast pulley from the Arizona, which he then used on the Taney. After the war he reclaimed the mast pulley. Partridge passed away on Pearl Harbor Day last year, and his son Rick found the pulley among his possessions.
Right after the attack, Willis Partridge salvaged the part to raise the flag on the Taney. Years later, during an overhaul, Partridge reclaimed the part to preserve it.
"I felt that it was too important for us to keep in the family - it just really is," says his son.
This weekend, Rick is taking the pulley back to a maritime museum in Baltimore.
"It does bring chills every time I touch it or look at it," says Rick. "It kind of sends shivers down my back to think about what was going on at this moment in time in history."
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