There were approximately 25 people there, comprising members of the American Legion, the VFW, Jewish War Veterans and the DAV. Although there were a handful of Vietnam Era Vets (and one who is a vet of Vietnam and Iraq), most of the attendees were WWII vets (mostly men and a few women). A couple of the women were widows of deceased WWII vets. Several of the WWII guys used canes to walk, and a couple needed help on the stairs, but they came. They always do.
I was honored and privileged to be one of the readers. I read President Roosevelt’s address to Congress following the Pearl Harbor attack, and it was interspersed with the remarks of President Bush following the attacks on September 11, 2001, which were read by a WWII vet. There were several other very moving readings.
Before the ceremonies I was talking to my friend Paulie, a Navy Vet. He said that he had stopped at a local diner on his way to the ceremonies. He mentioned to the waitress that he was on his way to Pearl Harbor Memorial ceremonies, and she remarked, “Oh, is that today?’ She was a Navy Vet!
In my personal experience, I have been saddened by how many people under forty don’t know the historic significance of December 7, 1941. Many under thirty don’t even know where Pearl Harbor is, much less have any idea what happened there 67 years ago.