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Pearl Harbor survivor shares heroic stories for Veterans Day celebration

The Arizona resident turns 100 years old next month and went on more than 300 mission with the Navy after the events of Pearl Harbor.

ARIZONA, USA — Arizona resident Jack Holder said he can still clearly see the face of the Japanese fighter pilot whose machine gun barely missed him as he hid in a sewer ditch.  

Holder, 99, is a survivor of the Pearl Harbor attacks of Dec. 7, 1941, when more than 300 Japanese fighter planes attacked the U.S. Navy harbor in Hawaii. The Navy veteran went on to serve in more than 300 missions with the U.S. Navy after surviving the attack, including the infamous 1942 Battle of Midway.

He recently shared his heroic stories at a veterans' club event at Sunland Springs Retirement Community in Mesa. He also shared some advice for the upcoming generation.

"They need to get their education, they need to treasure our flag, and never forget that they live in the greatest country in the world," Holder said. "It's not always right, but it's the greatest country in the world."

Holder turns 100 years old next month, and after being awarded more than 30 medals and commendations, he has achieved more in his life than many others will even get the chance to.

RELATED: WWII veteran proudly served his country despite racism against Japanese Americans

Communities across the Valley are holding numerous events to honor and thank those who have served in our country's armed forces. 

Some events have had changes due to COVID-19, but many have got creative with how to celebrate in a safe way.

SEE WHERE TO GET FREE FOOD AND THE HOLIDAY'S EVENTS HERE: Veterans Day 2021: Where to get free food and celebrate around Arizona

Those Who Serve

12 News is honoring the brave people who are currently serving and have served in the United States's armed forces. See their stories in our 12 News YouTube playlist here.