WWII vets honored on Pearl Harbor anniversary

This week, Pearl Harbor and World War Two veterans were honoured for the first time in Hattiesburg, Mississippi to commemorate the 73rdanniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.

300 people from the Hattiesburg area attended the ceremony at the city’s Lake Terrace Convention Center. Concern for aging veterans and dropping numbers prompted the need to remember their efforts, and commemorate those who fought on the important anniversary before it is too late.

Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy on 7th December 1941. Eight US Navy battleships moored at the Harbor were either destroyed or damaged, with around 2,500 Americans killed and more than 1,000 injured. The attack prompted the USA to enter World War Two.

One of the veterans, Harold Stover, is 90 and from Hattiesburg. He remembers the attack. He was with some friends at the time, and they were told to get in smaller boats and go out to pick up anyone in stranded or swimming in the water, who had jumped ship or been blown overboard. They were told to leave anyone who was already dead in the water.

Harold says that he has never forgotten that day and hopes that another similar attack never happens.

Another veteran, B.C. Lewis, also 90, from Petal, Forrest County, Mississippi, was in the US Navy at the time of the attack. He remained stationed at Pearl Harbor for many months afterwards and remembers the remains, with oil-slicked water surrounding the harbor, sunken ship wrecks and wreckage floating all around. He does not look back on those months fondly.

The event at Hattiesburg made a presentation of the colors by the Color Guard and Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, gave a speech to honor the veterans and those who lost their lives, the Hattiesburg American reports.

The event was for both Pearl Harbor and World War Two veterans as they are both being commemorated around the world on their 73rd and 70th anniversaries respectively.

Mayor DuPree reminded attendees that there can never be enough thanks given to these individuals. He said that lessons from the attack and the World Wars should be forever remembered.

All of the veterans who attended received a coin of remembrance to honor their role in the war.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE