Local Pearl Harbor survivor honored 78 years after attack

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SOLANA BEACH, Calif. -- One of the last living survivors of Pearl Harbor was honored in Solana Beach Friday.

Captain John Campbell is 99 years old but still remembers vivid details about the Pearl Harbor attack. "There was no pre-thought, we had no idea, and you're still stunned probably to the next day," he said about the attack.

Campbell was honored at a Pearl Harbor Day Luncheon at La Vida Del Mar Independent and Assisted Living Friday afternoon. Veterans in attendance took turns sharing how long and in which branch they served as Campbell sat in the seat of honor between two miniature American flags.

After the luncheon, Campbell opened up about his personal experience on December 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor came under attack. He said many people were left living in fear immediately following the events of that day.

"The first night in Pearl Harbor, you didn't dare light a cigarette or you'd get killed because everybody was so trigger happy," Campbell said.

It took days to finally get in contact with his family to let them know he had survived, Campbell said.

Decades later, he looks back on his life and says he has no regrets. "I've been lucky all my life," Campbell reflected. "I even became the president of a television network. I owned my own theme parks -- so I can't complain. I really had a fantastic life."

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