Local News

Ceremony to remember Pearl Harbor 72 years later

SEBRING - The WAVES Highlanders Unit 88 will host a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony at 1 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Sea Services Museum, 1402 Roseland Ave., off Kenilworth Boulevard. The program will include a Navy bell tolling ceremony. The guest speaker will be Gerry Harvey, USMC master gunnery sergeant (Retired), president of the Veterans Advisory Board. Special recognition will be given to World War II veterans in attendance with a moment of silence to honor war heroes, military and civilian, who died in the attack or the ensuing aftermath in the Hawaiian islands. The Sea Services Museum will be open for tours following the ceremony and will serve refreshments.
The ceremony is sponsored by the WAVES and the Veterans Council of Highlands County, honoring those who perished at Pearl Harbor 72 years ago when the United States was attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy in a surprise assault the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 1941. Eight U.S. Navy battleships stationed at Battleship Row at Pearl Harbor were damaged, with four sinking. Two of these ships were later raised and following extensive repairs on the remaining four, returned to service during the war. The Japanese damaged or sank three cruisers, three destroyers an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. Approximately, 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed, most while still on the tarmac. More than 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded during the assault that lasted just two hours. The USS Arizona, suffered the most human casualties with more than 1,177 sailors trapped inside thee hull as the massive ship sunk to the bottom of the harbor. A memorial was later built across the hull and dedicated in 1961. Oil continues to seep from the hull. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was not the only preemptive strike that day, as simultaneous assaults by the Japanese were carried out at the U.S.-held Philippines and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong. The surprise attack by the Japanese was a military attempt to prevent the U.S. Pacific Navy Fleet from interference with their attacks in Southeast Asia and against the overseas territories of the United Nations and the Netherlands. As a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, President Franklin D Roosevelt declared war on Japan. In return, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, propelling the United States into World War II.