99-year-old WWII veteran recalls Pearl Harbor 80 years later

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – “This is Pearl Harbor day. I joined the Navy on November 9th in 1942.”

Bowling Green legend, 99-year-old Robert Hayward Minton recalled with perfect clarity the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.

“Several of the boys who were my friends walked down to the barbershop, and they had the radio going,” Hayward said. “This was when President Roosevelt declared war on Japan.”

One year after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Hayward enlisted to serve his country.

“If you didn’t volunteer, you were going to get drafted,” he explained. “I had a draft number, but I thought, well, maybe I’ll get a little better job if I volunteer. My mother told me she didn’t want me anywhere near those airplanes, so I join the Navy.”

After only four weeks of basic training, Hayward graduated. Against his mother’s wishes, he spent his time in the navy working on airplanes.

While some of his friends kept themselves busy journaling, Hayward’s thoughts were occupied dreaming of a his sweetheart in Bowling Green.

“[I was] too busy writing love letters to my girl back home,” he remembered fondly.

Hayward didn’t have much to say when News 40 asked him how we felt about the end of the war.

“We didn’t know anything about atomic bomb. You don’t have say about what happens to you. You do what the commander says,” he explained.

His mind and heart both were firmly rooted in Bowling Green soil with his new wife by then.

The happy couple went on to establish their legacy here in Bowling Green, raising a child together and making memories for many more decades through sickness and health.

“We had a good relationship, Margaret and I did. We loved each other,” Hayward finished his story happily.

80 years after Pearl Harbor, Hayward is considered a faithful friend, a good father and a local hero.