Keeping Memories Alive
Christiansen, who worked for 36 years as the Columbus chief of police, has a room in his house dedicated to Pearl Harbor and his fallen brother.

He and his wife, Lenora, have a son, two daughters and four grandkids. He served six years in the Navy before coming home.

Sonny would be proud of him, he believes. He hands out pens that say, "Carl Christiansen, Columbus, Kansas, Youngest Survivor, Brother Entombed, USS. Arizona -- Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor, 60th Anniversary."

He has visited the Arizona Memorial in Hawaii, but he doesn't plan to return for this year's 60th anniversary. Christiansen has been battling cancer for 12 years -- people tell him he's too mean to die.

Christiansen has talked to lots of school groups about Pearl Harbor. But it wasn't until just a few years ago that anyone showed much interest in learning about Pearl Harbor, he said.

"The kids want to know," he said. "They've heard a lot about it."

Christiansen has been featured on NBC and CNN, and he has visitors to his home who want to know.

It is difficult for him to believe that it has been 60 years since his ship sank under him and his brother died.

"Time just goes so fast," he said. "I wake up and the sun is shining and it's another day already."

Christiansen was watching more news about Afghanistan when he spoke about his Pearl Harbor experiences.

There are differences between the attack on Pearl Harbor and the attack on Sept. 11 that killed thousands of Americans.

"The difference was at Pearl harbor we knew who did it," Christiansen said. "In New York, for the thousands of people from all those different countries, and they didn't know who did it."

He said he has told the groups he speaks to for several years that America would be attacked again. Intuition, he said. He just didn't know it would be so soon.

Information researched and compiled by I. B. Nease and N. A. Nease and provided on USSARIZONA.ORG free of charge.
May not be reprinted in any form, other than educational use, without prior written permission of the author.

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