Utah community celebrates 100th birthday of Pearl Harbor survivor

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Posted at 4:34 PM, Apr 16, 2021

PROVO, Utah — One of the few living Pearl Harbor survivors celebrated his 100th birthday in high style Thursday.

Few people live to be 100. Even fewer live a life like Ken Potts.

The Utah National Guard honored Ken Potts’ century of life in a Black Hawk helicopter ride above his hometown.

But it was the USS Arizona that changed Potts’ life in 1941.

“We are losing that generation,” said Potts’ son, Wayne Potts.

Ken Potts is only one of two living survivors aboard the battleship during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

The petty officer first class pulled sailors out of the water and into a small boat. He’s credited with taking up to a few hundred sailors to a nearby island. A man of few words, he has called the experience a “nightmare.”

“He cries when he talks to some of the few survivors who were left,” said Wayne Potts.

After the helicopter ride, friends, family and complete strangers honored Potts’ birthday.

A procession celebrated one of the greatest of the Greatest Generation.

Governor Spencer Cox declared Thursday Ken Potts Recognition Day in Utah to thank him for his service.

According to the National Park Service, 1,177 crew members on board the USS Arizona died during the attack.

This story was originally published by Hailey Higgins at KSTU.