Editor's note: A City of Spokane spokesperson identified Ray Garland as the last Pearl Harbor survivor in the Inland Northwest. A previous version of this story reflected that. However, the Coeur d'Alene Press recently spoke with 98-year-old survivor Charlie Imus. KREM has also received reports of at least one other survivor in the area.
Flags are lowered to half-staff in Spokane on Friday in memory of one of the last Pearl Harbor survivors in the Inland Northwest
Garland died in Coeur d'Alene on April 19, according to an email from his daughter. He was 96 years old.
Garland's daughter said he remained “happy and healthy until his last couple of days.”
Garland was just 19 years old when he began his service in the Marines. At the end of his basic training, he shipped off to Pearl Harbor. It was there that he was injured during the Japanese attack.
Garland spoke often of that tragedy and shared his memories from that day with KREM on several occasions.
"When something like that happens, your mind retains that stuff. You don't get rid of it," Garland said in an previous interview with KREM 2.
He was able to continue serving through the rest of World War II. He later served in the Korean War, then earned two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. His time in the service earned him national recognition and honor.
Garland retired and lived in Coeur d'Alene.
In 2016, Garland was the only living Pearl Harbor survivor to attend a remembrance ceremony in Spokane. He survived the Dec. 7 attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
"Time goes by, I guess. You get to be my age, and all your friends are gone," Garland told KREM’s Whitney Ward in 2016. "I didn't think I'd be the last one here. I was kind of the youngest one of the group."
Every year, he would travel to Spokane for the Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony. His work internationally brought him respect and honor locally.
Garland was the last remaining veteran in the Lilac City Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, according to a City of Spokane spokesperson. He was a decorated Marine who earned two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star during World War II and the Korean War.
We are deeply saddened by the death of Ray Garland,” said Spokane Mayor David Condon. “I will remember Ray for his decorated military service and dedication to his fellow service members. It was a pleasure getting to know him.”
Condon encouraged anyone with a flag outside of their home or business to lower it to half-staff in honor of Garland.
Garland’s memorial service was held Friday, April 26, at 1 p.m. at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Local veterans who worked with and knew Garland came to the service to pay their respects.
"He was one of those that was always there, and he always looked like he was still on duty," said veteran Mark Blackstone. "Ninety-six years, that's a long time. He had a great life, he was a great man. I'm going to miss him."
A City of Spokane spokesperson said Garland was the last Pearl Harbor survivor in the Inland Northwest. However, KREM has received reports of at least one other survivor in the area.
The Coeur d'Alene Press recently spoke with 98-year-old Charlie Imus of Post Falls, who vividly remembers the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor.
Imus, who was 21 at the time, said he was walking downstairs from the barracks to a mess hall on Ford Island during the first wave of attacks.