Mount Gilead VFW Post 8054 honored the memory of the 2,490 men and women who died in the surprise attack of the Japanese at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The Wednesday evening ceremony was held outside on the VFW lawn despite the bitterly cold weather.
The program was opened with Auxiliary member, Deb Campbell who led the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Mount Gilead High School (MGHS) student, Molly Brooke sang an inspiring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, followed by a welcome by Post Commander, Clarence Keckler.
Morrow County Airport Pilot, Chad Wright performed a flyover salute that followed the opening. Campbell said she and Wright had timed the flyover to the last five seconds and was pleased that it fit into the program perfectly.
Steve Hart spoke about the significance of the December 7th sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack of 420 Japanese planes killed more than 2,390 U.S. Military personnel and 100 civilians with an additional 2,000 who were wounded. Eight battleships were lost along with three cruisers, three destroyers and over 200 aircraft. It was an event that that shocked the nation and signaled the United States entry into World War II.
Hart’s father, James E. Hart was a Pearl Harbor survivor and U.S. Army anti-aircraft gunner. He was at his gun station when the second wave of the attack occurred. Steve said his father never talked about his war time experiences and he was not aware of what his father had lived through until he read an article about him in the newspaper 25 years ago at the time of the 50th anniversary of the attack.
The Veterans Auxiliary then read the symbolism of the “Missing Man Table” and held a moment of silent prayer in remembrance of those military serving and those who have not come home. The “Mother’s Prayer” was read and the Color Guard performed a salute.
Dan Fricke led the Color Guard with veterans Jerry Jagger, Tom Graham, Chad Remy, Jim Bruns and Harold Clinger. MGHS Band member Liam Shotwell performed Taps with Mallory Cooper playing the Taps Echo.
The famous words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech, read by Steve Hart echoed through the night that “the date of December 7th, 1941 will live in infamy.”
Color Guard waits for the flyover to commemorate the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. Dan Fricke at left leads the Color Guard with Jerry Jagger, Tom Graham, Chad Remy, Jim Bruns and Harold Clinger.