KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As many people look back on the Pearl Harbor attack and remember reading the history books, one woman does not need the books. She has her own memories.

Murray Ayres, of Knoxville, was at Pearl Harbor 81 years ago. Her father was serving as a Navy doctor on the base; her family lived in Pearl City.

“They knew something was going on because when we walked home from school, anytime we heard planes, they trained us to lie down in the ditches,” Ayres told WATE.

Ayres remembers the day a Japanese plane soared over her home. She said it was so close that she could see the pilot inside the cockpit.

“A plane went right over our heads. Had a big orange sign. The pilot looked like he had on a football helmet.”

Murray Ayes

Ayres raced to tell her parents what she saw. She watched her father race to put on his uniform and get his wife and daughters to safety.

“He put us in the car and my mother drove us to Honolulu and that’s where we stayed.”

Although everyone in Ayres’ family survived the attack, she remembers the sights and sounds that followed that day.

In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, the destroyer USS Shaw explodes after being hit by bombs during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941. A few centenarian survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor are expected to gather at the scene of the Japanese bombing on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022, to remember those who perished 81 years ago. (U.S. Navy via AP)

“We finally got to go back to the house. We had some shrapnel that had broken some windows. We had blankets over all the windows for blackouts. I played with the kids who lived behind us. Unfortunately, after the raid, they disappeared. We never saw them again,” Ayres said.

Even today, since the attack, some things take Ayres back to that day in 1941.

“I don’t like war movies. I don’t like fires to this day,” she added.

Although her memories can be painful, Ayres believes it is important to remember what happened lest history repeats itself.

“Realize freedom is not free. The problem nowadays is we feel very secure. Don’t take history for granted,” she said.