Lest We Forget: Pearl Harbor Day
By Peter Piesz
There are military days I like to remember and others I wish to ignore. Memorial Day is a special day, chosen to honor all military and civilians who have passed from our midst. Veterans Day is a special day to honor all veterans, past and present. These special days I fully endorse.
Other military dates that carry a more negative connotation I chose to remember, but ignore in celebration. Days such as the date of the start of WWI, the date of our surrender in the Philippines and subsequent Bataan Death March, the date of the start of the Battle of the Bulge, and even so-called Patriots Day or the events of Sept. 11, 2001. I just don't think these events warrant a celebration. Don't get me wrong. They should be remembered and never forgotten.
A special day for me is June 6, 1944, or D-Day. I personally like to remember that date. That is because I have had occasion to visit the site of that battle and have been privileged to interview many brave men who were directly involved there. But in another 50 years, when they are all gone, will anyone remember?
There is one day with a negative connotation I still wish to remember and celebrate. That is Pearl Harbor Day, or Dec. 7, 1941. We were on the brink of war and the draft was in full swing in anticipation of the great battle to come. That sneak attack by the Empire of Japan began a worldwide conflict involving the entire globe and due to last for four long years. The tremendous impact of that day is something I choose to remember.
That day is celebrated locally, every year, by the presence of ones who were there or by ones who had relatives who were there. Larry Chilcoat has done a wonderful job of organizing a yearly celebration and remembrance of that day. He is a hereditary member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. His father Joe, now deceased, was assigned to Hickam Field, Hawaii, on that day.
A ceremony will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 7, at the Corral Restaurant starting at 11 a.m. This will be followed by a Dutch treat dinner for those who choose to stay. The ceremony is open to anyone interested.
Others who hopefully will attend include:
Sue Lindsey, whose deceased husband, Gary, was assigned there in the Navy.
William Lockey was assigned to the USS Colorado, a fleet battleship.
Dorwin Hill, of El Campo, was assigned to the destroyer USS Dewey.
Also remembered will be deceased Wilbur Weeks, who was assigned to the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco.
On this special day, let us all "Remember Pearl Harbor."
This column is a research project of Dr. Peter B. Riesz. Contact Riesz at email@example.com or 361-575-4600.