BEND, OR -- Central Oregon’s last living Pearl Harbor survivor was honored by the Bend City Council Wednesday night. Councilors proclaimed Thursday Pearl Harbor Remembrance and Dick Higgins Day, in recognition of the 102-year-old.
Councilor Barb Campbell recounted Higgins’ bravery on December 7, 1941, "Immediately after the attack, Dick Higgins helped salvage PBSA aircraft, so that some would quickly become operational." She also noted his continued efforts to honor his fallen comrades, "Higgins visits the Erickson Aircraft collection in Madras, Oregon, during annual airshows, educating the public on the Pearl Harbor attack and the gift of freedom."
Campbell’s grandfather was also at Pearl Harbor. She got emotional while reading the city's proclamation, "The City Council encourages the citizens of Bend to honor those Americans who died as a result of their service at Pearl Harbor by flying American flags at half staff." Click HERE to read the full proclomation.
Dick Tobiason, head of the Bend Heroes Foundation, reminded Council the attack propelled our country into World War II, "There are only 75 Pearl Harbor survivors left in the United States. Dick represents all of those. He represents all of our World War II veterans." He says 60 million Americans went to war; 407,000 didn’t come home, "On a smaller scale, here in Bend, a city of 10,000 people when the war started, 3,000 young men went off to war; 72 did not come back alive."
Following the presentation, Higgins’ granddaughter Angela Norton thanked the city for its ongoing support for veterans, "They gave so much for us. Grandpa always says freedom isn’t free. And there’s a lot of lives lost in World War II and on that day, especially, in Pearl Harbor."
Higgins moved to Bend to be closer to family after his wife of more than 60 years passed away. He will also be recognized in a special assembly Thursday morning at Bend Senior High.
Photo courtesy of the City of Bend.