SAN DIEGO - Stu Hedley
knows something about loss.
The Navy veteran lived through 13 sea battles in World War II, experiencing the deaths of dozens of his
friends, and saw combat in the Korean War.
Stu Hedley of Clairemont held a photo of his grandson, Ryan Ricketts, who was killed in a motorcycle crash months after returning from combat in Iraq.
During the attack on Pearl Harbor 67 years ago today, Hedley
was one of two men who survived the direct hit of a Japanese bomb on Turret No. 3 of the battleship West Virginia.
"Ryan was very dear to me because he had the moxie to go out and do things," said Hedley, 87, of Clairemont.
was a little imp," Stu Hedley
"I called him Dennis the Menace."
Hedley, a retired chief petty officer, quietly instilled patriotism in his whole family.
flew a flag outside his
home and made sure his
kids and grandkids joined him in celebrating the patriotic holidays: Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Veterans Day.
In 1974, he
experienced a vivid flashback of the 1941 attack while on a cruise ship entering Pearl Harbor.
That vacation was his
first postwar trip to the site.
has since traveled there frequently for the Dec. 7 memorial gatherings as a member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association
has given talks about his
combat experiences to hundreds of schools and civic groups.
This afternoon, he
will take part in a panel discussion with other Pearl Harbor survivors at the Veterans Museum
and Memorial Center
in Balboa Park.
I pointed to it and said, 'You don't have to go that fast,' " Stu Hedley