WWII vet shares stories from the war - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

WWII vet shares stories from the war

Posted: Updated:

By WRCB Staff

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Lawrence Akers is a 91-year-old retired professor who lives in North Chattanooga.

Before Akers became a professor he served in the Navy during World War II.

He shared the story of his service and some thoughts on what we owe those who served and died for our freedoms.

Old glory flies high outside Akers' home showing a love of country still swelling in the heart of the retired sailor inside.

Akers served in the navy as part of the greatest generation during World War II. He attempted to join up on December 88th, 1941, only to find the recruiting office closed.

"I came back Wednesday, signed up and a week later I was shipped out to San Diego," says Akers.

A few weeks later, he was sent to Pearl Harbor, where even two months later there was a thick barrier of oil on top of the water and the attack fresh in the minds of Americans.

"You see the devastation made by the Japanese attack, and you really didn't realize it until you saw it," says Akers.

After that Akers says his crew was influencing everything that happened in the Pacific.

"Everything that happened after February the 2nd, I was involved in with a ship," remembers Akers. "I did 15 campaigns, well 13 and two of the Philippines Liberations."

One of those involved his ship in a naval battle just off Guadalcanal, one of the most brutal in the Pacific Theater.

"We were on patrol and the Japanese fleet came in, and that was the battle of Savo Island, which is just off of Guadalcanal," says Akers.

Akers says he's noticed a growing appreciation of veterans, especially those of his generation.  He wants Americans to remember the sacrifices of those who served and to remain grateful.

"That recognition that we have served, we put our lives on the line.  Some of them paid the ultimate price and are never coming back," says Akers.

And in order to honor those men and women who gave all, each of us have a duty to them.

"We have the responsibility to carry on.  To continue to work towards a better environment, a better economy and a better life.  And that is all possible," says Akers.

As for Akers, he did carry on after the Navy taking advantage of the G. I. Bill to get a college education and eventually his PH.D.

Now he spends his retirement years tickling the ivories in the home he shares with Jane, his wife of 64 years.

Powered by Frankly