LISTEN: Louis Erwin, a survivor of the attack on the USS Indianapolis:
When I first met Louis Erwin, it was almost like old home day. Erwin, 88, is a native of East Ridge, Tennessee, right next door to the place of my birth, Chattanooga. Erwin is also one of 38 remaining survivors of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis by a Japanese torpedo in the closing months of World War II; he was one of only 15 or so attending the latest reunion of the survivors at the Indiana War Memorial earlier this year.
I called Mr. Erwin when I heard that a new movie is being made about the Indianapolis and the ordeal of the 317 men who survived the sinking – and the almost 1,200 who didn’t (300 who went down with the ship, 880 who died while stranded in the water). I cherish every conversation with one of our World War II veterans. Our accomplishments seem so small compared to what they did seven decades ago.