Looking back – Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Dec. 8, 2018  PLYMOUTH VOICE.

Plymouth Michigan News


Looking back – Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day


Don Howard

Staff Writer

On the day of the 77thanniversary of the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor, veterans from Plymouth area service organizations assembled at the Veterans Memorial Park to pay a special tribute to those men and women who made the supreme sacrifice and died in a horrific and unsuspecting attack on the tiny Hawaiian island of Oahu, on December 7, 1941.

Krista McKinley, LtCol, USMC (Ret) of the Mayflower VFW Post coordinated the ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park.

Last Friday, members of the Plymouth Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 6695-Commander Rick Adis and VFW Post 6695-Auxiliary President Patti Brothers hosted the solemn and fitting memorial ceremony.

American Legion Post 391 Commander John Lockwood and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 528 President John Spencer, along with the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution-Sarah Ann Cochrane Chapter, assisted in the laying of wreaths and bell ringing observance.

After a prayer by Steve Monaghan, Commander John Lockwood led the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the National Anthem sung by veteran Ed Ruehle.

Plymouth Vietnam Veterans of America Honor Guard played taps.

Krista McKinley, LtCol, USMC (Ret) 21-year veteran and member of the Mayflower VFW Post coordinated the ceremony.  McKinley told the story of the events that occurred that fateful day when six Japanese aircraft carriers carrying 414 planes attacked the United States Naval Base completely destroying the American battleship U.S.S. Arizona with more than 1,000 men trapped inside, and sunk the U.S.S. Oklahoma, with 400 sailors on board, sinking a total of 12 ships and damaging nine others. The shocking offensive that lasted two hours destroyed or damaged nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships and over 300 airplanes. 2,403 Americans were killed and over 1,000 were wounded in the terrible tragedy.

McKinley said there are over 1,000 yet unaccounted for service members who perished at Pearl Harbor.

According to McKinley, since the onset of advancements in forensic technology and evidence processing that occurred in 2015, efforts are currently underway to identify the unknown service members from the attack in 1941 and the unaccounted from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and all other U.S. military conflicts since that time.  McKinley said with the help of forensics, 80 percent of the 388 unknown remains from the Oklahoma have been identified and disinterred. The bodies that were found after the attack, many without names, were placed in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

“To give those remains a name with a proper burial and to give their families closure is what we hope for each and every victim of the attack on Pearl Harbor.”

A flag was placed over an empty chair as physical symbol to signify the POW/MIA service members of all branches of the military and the continual effort for their return or full accountability.

No World War II veterans were present at the memorial service.

Said McKinley in her closing remarks, “Your lives were forever changed by the events on this day so long ago. Your bravery, your sacrifice, and your devotion to our country is the reason we stand here today with the privileges we have. Thank you. Your are truly the greatest generation.”

The Plymouth Vietnam Veterans of America Honor Guard concluded the ceremony with a prayer and the playing of taps.

Plymouth Voice.

Photos: © Don Howard

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