The Delaware County Veterans Association paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during an annual remembrance ceremony on Sunday morning.
Local veterans dropped a memorial wreath into the Olentangy River from the Winter Street bridge in memory of their fallen brothers and sisters in arms.
“Seventy-six years ago today, we were drafted into World War II,” said DCVA Chaplain Pastor Dwight Cimino. “Almost 3,000 men and women lost their lives at Pearl Harbor when they were attacked by the Japanese … Perhaps some of the deepest sentiment that we find on this day was best captured by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he called the attack upon Pearl Harbor a ‘day that would live in infamy.’”
Cimino then read an excerpt from Roosevelt’s Dec. 8, 1941 speech to Congress and reflected on how things have changed for America since the Dec. 7 attack.
“Today, we are of course 76 years from that time of attack,” Cimino said. “Almost all who survived the attack have been silenced by that thing we call death. Many have been cremated, their ashes interred in capsules and Navy divers have taken them back to place them aboard the (USS) Arizona and other ships at the bottom of Pearl Harbor. That they may forever be with their friends and fellow sailors who didn’t make it through that day.
“But today we are alive and we are here to recall that day, 76 years ago, and as well we are here to resolve that we will pray and ask God to protect our nation from another attack such as this.”
Navy veterans Lt. Commander Brian Galligher and Boiler Technician Bill Cline dropped the memorial wreath into the Olentangy. That was followed by a 21-gun salute and the sounding of “Taps.”
Cimino said he conducts the event every year because the “singularly most important” person in his life was his uncle, who was in the Navy during World War II and survived to serve as a father figure to Cimino. Cimino said he joined the Navy in 1963 and served three tours in Vietnam.
“This is my way of saying thanks at large,” Cimino said.
Harold Wells, an Air Force veteran who served during the Korean War, said he enjoys attending the annual event and said he was in school on Dec. 8 when Roosevelt’s speech was broadcast to students.
“It’s nice to be able to honor all the lives that were lost,” Wells said.
Galligher said he served on a submarine in the 1990s and was stationed at Pearl Harbor. He added that he lived in that area for years and said remnants of the attack on Pearl Harbor could still be seen, including bomb fragments at the housing complex where he lived.
“Being an active reservist, it’s always nice to come out here and connect with veterans,” Galligher said.
Galligher added that he was still in the Navy when the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster occurred in March 2011 and said it was an experience that showed how much things have changed since Pearl Harbor. Galligher said the U.S. Navy provided disaster relief after the incident and said Japanese people would recognize him as an American and thank him for his help.
“Seeing how far we’ve come,” Galligher said. “We went from fighting to now being very close allies. It’s been a 180 degrees shift.”
Contact Glenn Battishill at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.