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Veterans, family remember those lost on the Arizona

December 7, 2018

Norwich — Two city natives who were lost on the USS Arizona during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor were among those remembered Friday at an event marking the 77th anniversary of the attack.

Family members of Seaman First Class Michael Quarto and Seaman First Class Harry L. “Bud” Carlson, both of Norwich, were among the 50-plus people who turned out Friday to Norwich City Hall Plaza on a sunny but brisk day for the Norwich Area Veterans Council’s annual commemoration of the attack on Dec. 7, 1941, that thrust the U.S. into World War II.

“As we gather here in Norwich, it might certainly be hard to imagine the events of that Sunday morning 77 years ago. On an otherwise beautiful day in paradise, a horrific attack took America, our Navy and the territory of Hawaii by surprise,” said Lt. Cmdr. Bradley Boyd, the officer in charge of the Historic Ship Nautilus, the guest speaker for the event.

More than 2,400 Americans were killed. The Arizona suffered the greatest loss: 1,177 service members were killed. The remains of hundreds of the victims remain at the bottom of the harbor with the sunken battleship.

Two nieces and a nephew of Carlson’s attended the remembrance ceremony. Their uncle died before they were born, but they grew up hearing about him, they said. His niece, Naomi Crowley, 67, of Norwich, said her uncle was a 1939 graduate of Norwich Free Academy, where he was a star football player. His dream was to become a cartoonist, she said.

In addition to Crowley, Carlson’s niece, Rosalyn Carlson Lachapelle, 70, of Voluntown, and his nephew, Greg Carlson, 62, of Griswold, were also at the ceremony.

Greg Carlson said he wondered Friday as he drove to the ceremony how many people remembered it was the anniversary of the attacks. “Who thinks about it?” he said.

Only five survivors of the USS Arizona are thought to be alive. For the first time, none of them were able to make it to the commemoration event at Pearl Harbor.

Ray Chavez, reportedly the nation’s oldest living Pearl Harbor survivor, died two weeks ago the age of 106. His name was read aloud by Norwich vet John Waggoner in addition to the 17 Connecticut men lost during the attacks, including William Seely, of Groton, who also served on the Arizona.

Jill Bourassa, 43, of Norwich, a cousin of Quarto’s, said family roots can get lost over the years. Friday was a reminder of why it’s important to keep that history alive.

“I hope they keep doing it,” she said of the event.

j.bergman@theday.com

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