Each year on December 7, Pearl Harbor survivors, veterans, and visitors from all over the world come together to honor and remember the 2,403 service members and civilians who were killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The attack also permanently sank two U.S. Navy battleships, the USS Arizona and the USS Utah, as well as destroyed 188 aircrafts.
On August 23, 1994, the United States Congress designated December 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Every year, remembrance events are held all over the U.S.
VFW Post 6287 of Ruskin held their yearly Pearl Harbor Day Ceremony at Little Harbor.
“Our ceremony is a solemn event,” said Chaplain Tom Campbell of VFW Post 6287 of Ruskin. “We have a few officers from our post in attendance along with our auxiliary color guard. There is always an honor guard from the Marine Corps League. The ranking officer in attendance delivers a short speech about the day, I deliver the opening prayer for the fallen and then we set a wreath adrift in the bay—a biodegradable wreath that poses no environmental threat. The honor guard fires a three-volley salute, Taps is played and the colors are retired. Usually, everyone is invited to breakfast at the Sunset Grill, but that was not an option this year due to COVID.”
Since Pearl Harbor Day was established in 1994, the Ruskin VFW has been observing the memorial in some fashion.
“The significance of Pearl Harbor Day used to be self-evident,” Chaplain Campbell said. “However, as history is taught less and less and as we rapidly lose the members of our greatest generation, the need for public observance becomes more important.”
All the members of the post love this Pearl Harbor Day Ceremony.
“I love this event because this is a memorial for the event that launched our greatest generation into action,” Chaplain Campbell said. “In the words of Admiral Yamamoto of Japan, they ‘awoke a sleeping giant.’ That sleeping giant thrust us into war but it also solidified our resolve. It got women out of the kitchen and into factories, hospitals and offices. It stretched our resourcefulness, ingenuity and metal to the brink. We stared into the face of oblivion and fought back. We achieved victory after victory asking for no more land than that to bury our dead. We were not the imperialist tyrants we were fighting and never sought to become them. It is an honor to stand shoulder to shoulder with the few WWII veterans we have left.”
To learn more about VFW Post 6287 of Ruskin, visit www.facebook.com/RuskinVFW.