Bastrop woman survives Pearl Harbor attack

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BASTROP, La, (KNOE) - Dec. 7 is the day people across the country remember the attack on Pearl Harbor, including Grace Johnson, a woman who survived the attack.

"Well in that time, I was only like four or five years old,” said Johnson. My brother was three years older than me.

For Johnson, the memories are a little fuzzy.

"What I remember of it is that it was Sunday morning at 7:00 and my dad was cooking pancakes," Johnson said.

But every Dec. 7th, she does remember her father, Carl Yelvington. He was a chief petty officer in the United States Navy in 1941, which is why her family was in Hawaii.

"He said a nasty word because the sirens were going off and he had to run out the house,” said Johnson. “He says, 'Got to go.' And he was cooking, but he ran out the door and that's what stuck with me always."

The attack killed thousands, but Johnson said her father survived and came home four years later.

"When he came back from the war, my brother and I were playing jacks on the floor,” Johnson said. And this man came to the door and asked for Alicia Yelvington and my brother looks at me and he says 'I don't know, but he looks like my father."

Johnson says the attack changed her family forever.

"It was a lot of smoke and a lot of stress and my mother was never the same," said Johnson.

Now in Bastrop, Johnson is keeping her father's memory alive. She just got a new American flag from the Chennault Aviation Museum.

"I just wanted something new because the other one is just folded up and put away," Johnson said.

The flag is part of Chennault's Salute Project that collects and retires old flags and replaces them with new ones.

"So treating the flag with respect and replacing the flag when it's worn down, it means a lot more to people who have that kind of military connection," said Staff Sgt. Jason Carroll.

Johnson said hers came right in time for pearl harbor day.

"I think it's wonderful,” said Johnson. I think they all deserve one day for them."

She's remembering the date, which still lives in infamy and the day that changed her life forever.

The Chennault Museum will have their annual flag retirement ceremony next Tuesday, Dec. 11th.