Louisville Courier-Journal: Remembering Pearl Harbor 80 years later: The story Paducah man, James Vessels | Opinion

EDITOR'S NOTE: Vessels is listed as president of Coopers' International Union of North America Local 11 in the 1950 Paducah Labor Day celebration program.

By BERRY CRAIG

James Allard Vessels of Paducah was enjoying a friendly Sunday morning card game with a shipmate on the battleship Arizona in the middle of Pearl Harbor.

More than 4,200 miles away in Fancy Farm, it was Sunday afternoon. His fiancée and childhood sweetheart, Frances Anita Hodge, couldn’t wait to model the new engagement ring her betrothed had sent from Hawaii.

The date was Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor plunged America into World War II. Vessels, 21, lived. His ship died. So did 1,177 of his fellow crewmen, including Vessels’ card partner, a sailor named Lightfoot. 

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