February 15, 2018

We are saddened to share the news that Lt James “Jim” Downing, the world’s 2nd oldest Pearl Harbor survivor, passed away peacefully at his home in Colorado Springs this afternoon. He was 104 years old.

Jim entered the Navy at the age of 19 and served on the USS West Virginia during the attack on Pearl Harbor.  While under enemy attack he memorized the names of the fallen and wrote home to their parents letting them know their sons died as heroes.  After the attack he took down the last words of wounded sailors and sent them home to their parents.

Jim’s Naval career culminated with him becoming the commanding officer of the USS Patapsco from 1952 until 1955. Jim served in the navy for 24 years before retiring to Colorado Springs, CO.

Lt. James Downing speaking at the 

75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

In 2016 Jim wrote about his Pearl Harbor experience in “The Other Side of Infamy.”  The publication entered Jim into the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Oldest Male Author.

Although Jim was a hero to many, he always said those that didn’t make it home were the true heroes. 

Jim is survived by six children, nine grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren, including his daughter Marobeth Ruegg; his son Jon Downing and his wife, Cheryl; son Joe Downing; son Don Downing and his wife, Debra; son David Downing and his wife, Crystal; and daughter Joy Riley and her husband, Mark. His son James died of a heart attack in 2013. Morena, his wife of 68 years, died in 2010.

In Jim’s own words “Remember Pearl Harbor.  Keep America Strong!

Please contact the Committee chair for Press items:


Joel Biggs
(800) 626-8590
(480) 654-2553 - Fax


May 12, 2017

Pearl Harbor Survivor and Parade Participant Alfred Rodriguez Passes Away

December 2016

Parade Chairman - Joel Biggs radio interview with  Jack Scalia

April 20, 2016

Hudson Marching Band to Participate in Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade.

April 15, 2016

North Platte Canteen - a story of love and patriotism


JUL 20, 2015

Combined Burke County High School Bands from North Carolina promo video


DEC 7, 2014 Riverside HS Band to Perform in Parade


DEC 7, 2014 CBS Miami


DEC 7, 2014 NBC 12 Report


DEC 7, 2014 WDBJ7 news report about Patrick Henry HS Marching Band


DEC 7, 2014 Patriots Land for Parade Performance

Roanoke Times Report of Marching Band Performing in the Parade


DEC 7, 2011

See KITV Honolulu coverage of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade.


DEC 6, 2014 PACIFIC AVIATION MUSEUM to participate in Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade


DEC 5, 2014 APEX HS Choir to travel to Hawaii


DEC 2, 2014 Hawaii News Now


OCT 14, 2014 - Local Cadets selected to March in Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade





NOV 21, 2011

See how Arsenal Tech is preparing for their trip to Hawaii to participate in the Pearl Harbor Memorial Paradeand how the Indianapolis Colts and their owner, Jim Irsay, have played an instrumental role in making this trip possible.


OCT 12, 2011

Gridley High School Band does the impossible; will travel to Pearl Harbor.  See the Video from News 10 in California.


SEP 29, 2011

Read an article by Alexis Davies from the Chantilly Patch about the Chantilly High School Band's participation in the 2011 Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade.




Help to pay tribute to our veterans and their families by donating today.

The National Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade is an official event of the WWII75 Anniversary commemoration.

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