MINOT, N.D. - Seventy-six years ago, the United States entered World War II after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Ray Curtis is a World War II veteran. He says he entered the United States Army for a one year term, but that all changed on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.
"We're packing up and we heard on the radio that the Japanese were bombing Pearl Harbor. The Marines were packing up and leaving and we moved in there and we stayed there a few days," said Curtis.
Ray says he was at Mare Island, a Marine base northeast of San Francisco, on special duty. He says his stay there had been extended after news broke of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
"They had search lights into the sky. You could see them at night, searching the sky" said Curtis.
This would change everything for Curtis. He says his plan was to get out of the service, marry his girlfriend and begin working in California.
Ellen had moved to San Francisco with Curtis for a short time, before he received orders to relocate. Ray says he and Ellen had something they had to do in the 24 hours before he left.
"When the courthouse opened, we went in and got our marriage license and we went upstairs to the judge and got married," said Curtis.
So while he traveled and served our country, his roots remained here in Minot, N.D.
"My wife, had stayed with my folks in Minot during the war," said Curtis.
Of the five years Curtis spent serving the United States, he spent his last year in Germany. Despite the many times he was relocated, from California, to North Carolina, to South Carolina and so much more, the states is where he says he felt most safe.
"I'm grateful. I had a guardian angel watching over me I think, kept me in the states" said Curtis.
When World War II ended on Sept. 2, 1945, Curtis says he couldn't wait to be reunited with his wife and twin daughters waiting for his return.
"You just got home, and you went and you took off your uniform, and my wife took me downtown to buy civilian clothes" said Curtis.
Now 101 years old, Curtis has documented his time serving our country, to assure we never forget the ultimate sacrifice made by those who served the United States of America.