PEARL HARBOR, HI (WXOW) - A group of Wisconsin Pearl Harbor survivors recently returned from a special trip, but one veteran from Rothschild almost didn't experience the once in a lifetime opportunity.
Charles Davis was mailing Christmas cards onboard the USS Argonne when bombs started falling on Pearl Harbor.
"I went out on deck and saw some guys standing there and I looked and I saw Ford Island blowing up, bombs and aircraft," he said.
He can still remember the shock when a fellow Naval Officer told him the Japanese were attacking.
"I said I didn't know they were mad at us."
It's been more than 70 years since that day, but just this week, Davis returned to Pearl Harbor for the first time. His son Jay joined him.
"I don't know why it gets me so much," Jay said with tears in his eyes.
The two toured the monuments built to honor those who died December 7, 1941.
"It surprised the heck out of me cause all my life he's been saying he would never go back. Too many bad memories," Jay said.
But Davis said after years of being away, setting foot on the island this time was different.
"I couldn't say that was hard." But Davis almost didn't make the trip. He didn't want to leave his wife of 66 years, Alice, alone. She suffers from Alzheimer's.
"I'm not even sure she realizes I was gone now," Davis said.
To help Davis, organizers of the Old Glory Never Forgotten Honor Flight that took him to Hawaii helped find a caretaker for Alice while he was gone. Both father and son said they're grateful and the trip is something they'll never forget.
"It's been 70 years. And they were there," Jay said.
"If he hadn't been there I wouldn't have had any fun at all," Charles Davis added with a laugh.