Pearl Harbor attack remembered at Valpo event
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent December 7, 2012 2:16PM
US Army veteran Katie Deal, right, of Wanatah, bows in prayer during a Pearl Harbor Rememberence Day at the American Legion Post 94 in Valparaiso Friday Dec. 7, 2012. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 9, 2013 6:07AM
VALPARAISO — Pearl Harbor Day is not a celebration, but the commemoration of a day when the United States paid a great sacrifice, B.J. McGuire, former commander of American Legion Post 94, said Friday.
“We gather to remember,” he told the more than 60 people attending the legion’s annual Pearl Harbor Day program.
On. Dec. 7, 1941, as American soldiers were attending a Sunday worship service and people were just beginning their day, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, killing more than 3,000 people on the Hawaiian island of Oahu in less than two hours.
At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the country was recovering from the Great Depression, and things were good for most people, McGuire said.
“In a flash, those times were gone, along with thousands of lives, as Pearl Harbor was attacked,” he said.
The attack caught the country off guard, decimated its Pacific fleet, and brought America into World War II.
While most people don’t remember World War II, McGuire said, they do remember 9/11, a day that also started as so routine and brought back memories of Pearl Harbor.
“We all too often forget the lessons of history. That is why we gather to remember,” he said, adding gathering to recall the attack on Pearl Harbor is not pleasant, but teaches a lesson of what the country learned from its lack of vigilance.
The program is an annual tradition at the post, said Cmdr. Donald Davis, adding the post has 10 surviving World War II veterans.
Two of them, Elmer Vickery and Curtis Drummond, attended Friday’s program. While neither was at Pearl Harbor during the attack, both said it’s important to recall the deadly siege.
“It’s for remembering and for our country,” Drummond said. “I’m sure younger generations will read all about it.”