Huntington’s Pearl Harbor ceremony to honor the fallen

December 7, 2018

HUNTINGTON — In 1987, the first year wreaths were placed into the Ohio River at Huntington in remembrance of the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941, 26 Pearl Harbor survivors from the Tri-State were in attendance.

This year, the 31st anniversary of Huntington’s memorial program, there will be no surviving veterans from Pearl Harbor on that fateful day in attendance to stand.

At 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena, Marine Corps League Detachment 340 will mark the 77th anniversary of the attack that sent America into World War II. The event will feature guest speakers, special guests and a wreath ceremony.

“Our keynote speaker will be Brian Nimo with the Huntington VA Hospital,” said Shirley Ball Jr., the commandant of Marine Corps League Detachment 340.

Ball said the city of Huntington also will participate in the ceremony. He said all individuals, businesses, organizations and government agencies are encouraged to join in the tribute.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared Dec. 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy.”

“We must never forget that day,” Ball said.

Ball said there will be some World War II veterans in attendance and possibly even World War II Medal of Honor recipient Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams.

Ball said a wreath ceremony will follow the guest speakers.

“Weather permitting, folks will toss wreaths and flowers into the Ohio River,” he said. “If the weather doesn’t cooperate, then we will have a wreath-laying ceremony inside the arena. This entire ceremony is a memorial to the fallen.”

Each year on Dec. 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 Dec. 7, 1941. An additional 1,178 people were injured in the attack, which permanently sank two U.S. Navy battleships — the USS Arizona and the USS Utah — and destroyed 188 aircraft.

On Aug. 23, 1994, Congress designated Dec. 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

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