The attack on Pearl Harbor came on the bleak morning of December 7, 1941. Machinist Mate, William Henderson, was asleep in his rack when he heard a call to get to his post. Before he could even get his clothes on, the USS Helena, was hit by a Japanese torpedo. After a brief time of unconsciousness, Henderson made his way to his battle station. As a 19 year old boy, he stood at his post with bravery and courage. He served in the US Navy for a total of six years.
The Building of a Legacy:
Henderson saw many difficult days during his times of being in the Navy. He actively fought in more than one battle. The Helena was hit by Japanese torpedoes on more than one occasion, and eventually sunk. Henderson experienced such loss from the men who gave their lives sacrificing for their country. Many of these men, he spent time with on leave and had close relationships. Since he had such a bond with his comrades, he was committed to raising money to build a World War II Memorial in his hometown. He also wrote a book and remembered many of his shipmates in great detail.
Honored by Scattering Ashes:
Machinist Mate 1st Class, William Henderson, left this world in August of 2013. On March 10, 2014, his ashes were scattered in the waters at the USS Utah Memorial on Ford Island. Capt. Larry Sruggs honored Henderson at the memorial service. He spoke of his courage during that dreaded day at Pearl Harbor. Mike Danaher, his son-in-law, honored him by sharing of all he accomplished for his shipmates during his remaining years of life. Jim Taylor, a Pearl Harbor Survivors Liaison also spoke at the service. Henderson’s dear wife was so honored by the representation he received at during the scattering ashes ceremony.
What an amazing individual William Henderson was. His legacy will last as the memorial for World War II will forever stand in his hometown. Also, his book is a testament to the courage our armed forces exhibit every day.