Jan 23, 2017 at 08:14 PM

75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Commemoration

By Veterans Foundation

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The Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack with a free community ceremony at the Santa Barbara Airport on Dec. 7.  About 150 people attended the event to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Santa Barbara Airport was chosen as the event site because it was formerly a Marine Corps Air Station during World War II.

At exactly 10:55 a.m., the same time the attack happened in Hawaii (7:55 a.m.), Reveillewas played by bugler Howard Hudson to open the ceremony. Brig. Gen. Fred Lopez (USMC, ret.), who emceed the event, went on to recognize all WWII veterans in attendance as well as those who witnessed the Pearl Harbor attacks, including local resident Ken Richardson, who was 10 years old when it happened.

“We remember those that stood their ground against that great evil,” said Lopez.

More than 2,400 U.S. military personnel and 68 civilians died on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Naval Base Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, using bombers, torpedo bombers and midget submarines. Another 1,178 were wounded.

Various PCVF board members gave brief accounts of each branch of the military’s role in the attack and response.

Lt. Stephen Penner (USN, fmr.) reiterated the history of Pearl Harbor and WWII and gave perspective on the damaging effects of war on both sides.

Japan conceived the idea for the attack in January 1941. They wanted to expand in territory and power and needed natural resources like oil and aluminum found in The Netherlands East Indies. The U.S. stood in opposition to their conquest, termed “the Southern Resource Area,” and placed an embargo on the Japanese to show their dissatisfaction with the Empire of Japan's hostile occupation of French Indochina.

Japanese leaders thought if they could cripple the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, it would allow them time to seize the resource areas it needed and fortify them to the point that retaking them would cost more lives than the Imperial High Command thought Americans would be willing to pay.

 “The Japanese falsely assumed they could defeat the world’s largest economic power,” said Penner.

The attack began at 7:55 a.m. and was over before 9:30 a.m. The most stunning moment for all who were there was when the U.S.S. Arizona sank just 15 minutes after the attack began.

“Let us never forget the sacrifices made for our freedoms and how important it is that these brave men remain in our hearts and minds,” said Penner.

Col. Ed Dewey (US Army, ret.), Capt. Dennis Peterson (USMC, fmr.), Col. Phil Conran (USAF, ret.), Gary Simpson, (US Coast Guard, fmr.), and Lt. Col. Pat Rumpza (U.S. Nurse Corps, ret.) each told the audience details about the attack.

Sheriff Bill Brown read an excerpt from Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor Address – the “Day of Infamy” speech, which was given on December 8, 1941, the same day America entered WWII.

“The attack began our involvement in what would become the largest, most difficult, and costliest war in history,” Sheriff Brown said.

More than 404,000 Americans paid the ultimate price during WWII. 

For more information about future events put on by the Pierrre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation or to learn how to support the organization, visit www.pcvf.org.

About Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation

Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation is committed to honoring the men and women who have served in U.S. military efforts. PCVF does this by supporting veterans and active duty members, and related partner organizations, in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as well as preserving military history and legacy. The Foundation works to uphold Pierre Claeyssen’s vision that those who have served are “Never Forgotten.”  PCVF is funded entirely by private donations. For more information, visit www.pcvf.orgor call (805) 259-4394. 

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