To commemorate the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad will be in Honolulu this week for ceremonies honoring those killed in the attack that brought the United States into World War II.
Reistad will attend a Young Marines ceremony on Dec. 6 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the Punchbowl. And on Dec. 7, Reistad will attend World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument for the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration. Click here to watch a live stream of the ceremony beginning at 7:50 a.m. Hawaii Time (12:50 p.m. ET) on Friday.
Meanwhile, across the country, American Legion posts are doing what they can to honor those lost at Pearl Harbor. In Massachusetts, Westfield American Legion Post 454 Commander Robert J. Ragone, the head of the city's Veterans Council, is working with others to remind those in the community about the sacrifices made 77 years ago. An event is planned for Dec. 7 at Kane & Wojtkiewicz Park, which is named in part for Navy Chief Machinist's Mate Frank P. Wojtkiewicz, a Westfield native who was killed on the USS Arizona.
“I think it's critical we have observances like Pearl Harbor Day because most of our children today are so young, and I'm not sure (the history of World War II) is being taught as history in our schools,” Ragone told the Springfield (Mass.) Republican. “We are losing our World War II veterans at astronomical rates. Soon, we won't have anyone left. It's imperative to be getting the word out to remind people of what the Greatest Generation did for us and to stir the pot to ensure it continues."
Other Pearl Harbor Day ceremonies involving American Legion posts across the nation include:
American Legion Post 296 in Sterling will conduct its annual Pearl Harbor memorial service on Sunday at the post. The ceremony will include a speaker, a rifle salute and playing of Taps, and a flag that flew above the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor will be folded.
In North Mankato, those serving at Pearl Harbor during the Dec. 7 attack are honored the entire month. North Mankato American Legion Post 518 already has honored two local survivors of Pearl Harbor: Charles Sehe, 95, and Victor J. Paradis, 100.
American Legion Post 738 in Fairview Park will pay tribute to the service men and women who died at Pearl Harbor with a short public ceremony beginning at 7:45 a.m. remembering those who were killed that morning.
• Seaside American Legion Post 99 will sponsor a Pearl Harbor Day observance in the main entry area of the Seaside Civic and Convention Center, with a wreath-laying ceremony and possible Coast Guard flyover at 9:55 a.m.
• American Legion Post 10 in Albany will host a Pearl Harbor Memorial Service at the post. The guest speaker will be retired Army 1st Sgt. Bryan Burt, who served as a Ranger for 20 years.
Lester Keate Post 90 in St. George is teaming up with other veterans service organizations for a public Pearl Harbor ceremony beginning at 10:48 a.m. local time (7:48 a.m. Hawaii time) at the Pearl Harbor Memorial at Tonaquint Cemetery. Four veterans will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony, while four of the oldest veterans in the area will be seated on sides of the Pearl Harbor Memorial.
American Legion Post 73 in Sunnyside will mark the 77th anniversary of Pearl Harbor with an 11 a.m. ceremony at the Jerry Taylor Veterans Memorial Plaza. The JROTC students at Sunnyside High School will provide a 21-gun salute following the ceremony.