Nearly 200,000 veterans of WWII are still alive. Most of them—like Edward Knox of Weatherford, Texas—are in their 90s. Too soon, their memories will survive only in our memories and in the memorials we create in their honor.
Which is why 7k Metals—having released a collectible coin honoring the USS Arizona memorial and Pearl Harbor—awarded one of the memorial coins to Ed as a celebration of his service to his country nearly eight decades ago, and also to create a lasting token of that service for his family.
7k is a multi-national company empowering a new generation of responsible leaders like Ed with a convenient and innovative platform to acquire tangible assets. Headquartered in Idaho—the “Gem State”—7k educates collectors, providing them the necessary confidence and tools to accomplish generational impact for families around the world.
Generational impact has already been accomplished by 94-year-old Ed Knox, although he focuses more now on feeding his cows. Only after he completes the chores he fulfills every day are you likely to get him to talk about his experiences as a seaman in WWII. But even then, he’s likely to begin with an apology.
“There’s a lot I’ve forgotten,” he hedges. And then he’ll begin to talk about experiences too difficult and dangerous to forget, from when he joined the Navy following the bombing of Pearl Harbor and through to the end of the war.
“When I heard Pearl Harbor was bombed,” Ed says, speaking softly of the tragedy of so many ships and souls lost to a single surprise attack, “I was afoot and walked six miles to the Naval Station to join.”
Ed was only 16 at the time and small for his age. So, the recruiter told him he’d have to wait until he was older and put on some weight.
“I figured that if I waited that long, the war would be over,” Ed jokes.
But he wasn’t joking when he returned with his mother to sign papers permitting him to join, even though he was underage (and still underweight).
“I was too small for the Army,” Ed remembers, “but the Navy took me.”
He was assigned to the USS Harrison, a destroyer in the Third Fleet under the command of Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, which virtually guaranteed he would be in some of the most intense and dangerous sea battles of WWII. And the ocean proved to be as dangerous as the enemy.
“We were caught in a terrible typhoon. It sank several ships in our convoy, including one that had its bow broken completely off.”
Ed lived through the typhoon, and he survived attacks by Kamikaze planes, one of which crashed into the side of the Harrison. He wasn’t injured during that attack, but while manning his station, the 5-inch guns went off, causing him and the sailors with him to suffer severe hearing loss.
“When you talk to him now,” his daughter-in-law and “sidekick” Jody Cameron Knox explains, “I may need to repeat some of the words and questions for him. He’s technically 100% disabled.”
But that doesn’t keep him from feeding his cows in Weatherford, Texas. And it didn’t keep him from doing his duty when Admiral Halsey sent the USS Harrison on a midnight raid to destroy a munitions factory, which began a weakening of the enemy resources that would contribute to ending the war… service his family is now reminded of every time they see his 7k Pearl Harbor memorial coin.