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14 December 2022
From Jim Neuman, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii - The National Park Service and the military services on Oahu commemorated the important anniversary with a ceremony on the grounds of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial Visitor Center, Dec. 7.
Over a dozen veterans of World War II, including many who had survived the attack were in attendance to receive honors on behalf of the Greatest Generation.
Rear Adm. Stephen Barnett, commander, Navy Region Hawaii, expressed the sentiments of the current generation of service members.
“The example of perseverance and courage under fire that would lead to victory in the long war ahead was set by the heroes who endured the horrors of Dec. 7, 1941. It is the example we strive to follow each and every day,” said Barnett.
The theme of the 81st commemoration was Everlasting Legacy and throughout the one-hour event a consistent refrain encouraged attendees and those who watched the livestream to reflect upon and reverence the everlasting legacy of the sacrifices of the brave men and women who faced the challenges of war and who took the experiences and lessons they had endured to face the future challenge of striving for peace and reconciliation in a changed world.
The importance of honoring the legacy of the World War II veterans, and capturing their experiences firsthand is even more poignant, when faced with the reality that the Greatest Generation will soon pass from the scene and ceremonies like this one will no longer provide an opportunity to honor the veterans in person.
Barnett would sum up those sentiments with the words, “We are inspired by your courage under fire, and we vow to honor you and remember your legacy well past this ceremony today. We will honor you with our own lives, and with our service as the defenders of the values of liberty and peace that you fought to preserve 81 years ago. Your legacy will never be forgotten, and we salute you.”
The event included a flyover by the 19th Fighter Squadron of the Hawaii Air National Guard, and a salute to the veterans in attendance as well as the memory of those service members lost on Dec. 7, 1941, from the crew of the USS Daniel Inouye as they passed between the visitor center and the USS Arizona Memorial.
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