Veterans Day Salute: One Spokane Man's Story of Growing Up In Pe - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Veterans Day Salute: One Spokane Man's Story of Growing Up In Pearl Harbor

Posted: Updated:
Spokane resident Bob Snider remembers the attack on Pearl Harbor vividly Spokane resident Bob Snider remembers the attack on Pearl Harbor vividly

He grew up in Pearl Harbor more than 70 years ago, but for Bob Snider, the memories of life on the island are still fresh.

His Spokane home is covered in photos and memorabilia from those days, including a picture of him as a child swimming in Pearl Harbor with his father, photos of his childhood home, his mother's tropical artwork and memories of the day that changed everything.

"There was always noise in the harbor," Snider recalled about the morning of December 7, 1941.

He was outside eating mulberries when he heard something that wasn't right.

"I don't know if it was the Arizona blowing up or not, but I decided I better run out and see what was happening on the water," Snider told KHQ's Kelsey Watts.

What was happening was one of the largest attacks ever on American Soil and it was unfolding before his own eyes about a mile from his home.

"My bedroom window faced Ford Island and we could see the Japanese dive bombers coming down," Snider said, adding that parents made him go back inside as the three watched the attack. "We were all speechless, just looking. We never really thought it was going to happen."

Snider was too young to understand what all the smoke and chaos meant.

But when the radio signaled the attack was real and that military members should return to the base, a bullet penetrated their home and his father nearly lost his life.

"As he was getting ready to leave the house a Japanese bullet missed him by three feet," Snider said. "Then I was scared, then I was crying, then I knew this was real."

He later collected a shoebox full of fragments from American anti-aircraft shells that were fired that day during the second wave of the Japanese attack. Today, he only has one left.

He remembers that civilians were evacuated to safer ground, but because the family car was gone, Snider and his mother were mistakenly left behind.

"When mother and I were alone in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and we were scared to death, all we had was what the Japanese didn't destroy, and that wasn't much," he added. "The fear was incredible."

He remembers school was closed for three months and when it finally resumed they practiced drills for weapons and chemical attacks, fearing the Japanese would return.

In August of 1942 he went to California to stay with family before his parents could leave Hawaii. The opening of what's now Fairchild AFB in Spokane eventually brought them up to the Pacific Northwest.

On this Veterans Day, Snider met with the small group of survivors from that day who now live in the Inland Northwest. There are only seven surviving Pearl Harbor veterans in Spokane and one other civilian survivor.

"[Service men and women] put their lives on the line for the rest of us and we're lucky it's being done," he added.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Manhunt in Peone Prairie for man believed to be armed

    Manhunt in Peone Prairie for man believed to be armed

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:28 AM EDT2014-07-31 13:28:59 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.- At 6pm Wednesday evening two people arrived at their home, in Peone Prairie, and found two men in the process of ransacking it. This happened at a home near East Moffat and North Forker Road, northeast of Spokane.. >>Details on manhunt inside>>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.- At 6pm Wednesday evening two people arrived at their home, in Peone Prairie, and found two men in the process of ransacking it. This happened at a home near East Moffat and North Forker Road, northeast of Spokane. >>Details on manhunt inside
    >>
  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • WILDFIRE ALERT: Neighbors tackle brush fire with shovels; can't get it out

    WILDFIRE ALERT: Neighbors tackle brush fire with shovels; can't get it out

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:02 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:02:00 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Wednesday afternoon a brush fire broke out south of Spokane off Highway 195, near W Smythe and N Maple road. The fire is burning in a residential area and neighbors we talked to say they are very worried about their homes. It's not clear how the fire started, but when nearby homeowners saw smoke they ran out with shovels to try and stamp it out.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Wednesday afternoon a brush fire broke out south of Spokane off Highway 195, near W Smythe and N Maple road. The fire is burning in a residential area and neighbors we talked to say they are very worried about their homes. It's not clear how the fire started, but when nearby homeowners saw smoke they ran out with shovels to try and stamp it out.
    >>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Manhunt in Peone Prairie for man believed to be armed

    Manhunt in Peone Prairie for man believed to be armed

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:28 AM EDT2014-07-31 13:28:59 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.- At 6pm Wednesday evening two people arrived at their home, in Peone Prairie, and found two men in the process of ransacking it. This happened at a home near East Moffat and North Forker Road, northeast of Spokane.. >>Details on manhunt inside>>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.- At 6pm Wednesday evening two people arrived at their home, in Peone Prairie, and found two men in the process of ransacking it. This happened at a home near East Moffat and North Forker Road, northeast of Spokane. >>Details on manhunt inside
    >>
  • IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: KHQ special, 'Beyond the Fire Lines' airs again on SWX

    IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: KHQ special, 'Beyond the Fire Lines' airs again on SWX

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:27 AM EDT2014-07-31 13:27:29 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Since the devastation of the Carlton Complex fire, we've heard hundreds of heartbreaking stories from people who have lost everything, to those who refuse to let the firestorm break their spirits. From communities rallying together, to the heroes on the front lines, all that and more inside "Beyond the Fire Lines.">>
    KHQ.COM - Since the devastation of the Carlton Complex fire, we've heard hundreds of heartbreaking stories from people who have lost everything, to those who refuse to let the firestorm break their spirits. From communities rallying together, to the heroes on the front lines, all that and more inside "Beyond the Fire Lines."
    >>
  • Green Bluff grass fire: 3 buildings destroyed at Walker's Farm

    Green Bluff grass fire: 3 buildings destroyed at Walker's Farm

    Thursday, July 31 2014 12:55 AM EDT2014-07-31 04:55:05 GMT
    GREEN BLUFF, Wash.- A fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon at a farm on Green Bluff was 100% contained by 6pm. The fire started on property owned by Walker's Farm. Fire crews were called out to the farm about 2:30pm.
    >>
    GREEN BLUFF, Wash.- A fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon at a farm on Green Bluff was 100% contained by 6pm. The fire started on property owned by Walker's Farm. Fire crews were called out to the farm about 2:30pm.

    >>