A Pearl Harbor survivor from Franklin County has died.

Harold Barber was on the deck of a naval ship on December 7th, 1941.More than 2,000 people died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

WDBJ7 interviewed Barber at his Penhook home in December.

The retired minister and jail chaplain told us that he still thought about the attack and prayed for the dead.

Barber died Tuesday night, just two weeks shy of his 98th birthday.


More than 70 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Harold Barber remembers the morning of December 7, 1941.

"Oh you don't forget," he told WDBJ7. "You don't.  It's just like I was there yesterday."

Barber was on deck of the USS Argonne waiting to go ashore when the attack started. He first thought the approaching planes were U.S. aircraft on a training exercise. Then he saw the black smoke from an explosion and the planes attacking. One of the Japanese zeros flew toward him with its .50 caliber machine guns firing. Bullets hit nearby.

"They sputtered around, and all above my head," he told us. "And when he went by he had the cowl open on his plane and he had his scarf and his goggles on. And he grinned at me. And then I saw the rising sun on the side of the plane."

Barber saw a bomb hit the USS Arizona, and he watched as as other ships were damaged by enemy fire.

Now 97 years old, Barber says he often thinks about that day.

"I do a lot of praying," Barber said. "I do a lot of praying for the souls and the men, the guys that lost their lives, and of the families that lost their loved ones."

Barber was a trumpet player in the USS Argonne band, and he spent the night before the attack with musicians from the USS Arizona. All of them died when a bomb exploded on their ship.

Afterwards Barber said he felt lucky to be alive. Today, the retired minister and jail chaplain says he knows he was blessed.