Community leaders and military veterans commemorate Pearl Harbor Day
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) —
77 years ago Pearl Harbor was attacked. It was an event that caused the United States to enter World War Two. For 18 years the Marine Corps League Detachment 340 of Huntington has commemorated this day that President Franklin Roosevelt said would live in infamy.
"This was the greatest generation's 9/11," said Zeb Lane, Pearl Harbor Day Chairman for Marine Corps League Detachment 340 of Huntington.
Pearl Harbor Day has a special meaning for Lane. His grandfather was a Pearl Harbor survivor. Lane says the attack was something his grandfather never forgot.
"All of a sudden my grandpa would dive underneath the kitchen table, and me and my brother was little kids. We didn't realize what was going on. Grandma came and got us out of there. He had PTSD from the zero dive bombers," said Lane.
Ruth Kelley's husband George was a Pearl Harbor survivor, something Ruth says she found out by accident after they were married.
"He answered a question on a TV show and I said how did you know that? He said damn it I was there," said Kelley.
She says he didn't talk about the experience until after the 60th anniversary of the attack. "He watched the West Virginia go down. He was on the USS Pelius submarine tender at a submarine base. He had a view of everything that was going on.
For one hour and 15 minutes, Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor, killing more than 2,400 Americans and injuring more than one thousand.
"I'm concerned primarily because our youth do not understand," said Medal of Honor Recipient Woody Williams. He worries the younger generation may forget about Pearl Harbor.
"They do not understand what sacrifices have really been made so that we can stay a free country with all the freedoms and privileges we have. Since they don't know that they have no great appreciation for it," said Williams.
The solution Williams says is in the classroom, teaching history and making it relevant.
At one time there were 23 Pearl Harbor survivors living in the Tri-State area. Now there's only one who could not make today's Remembrance Day Ceremony for health reasons.