The day that lives in infamy is still burned into the minds of veterans of World War II and all the wars afterward. Army veteran Robert Brothers on Saturday at Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony at First Presbyterian Church told the story of the early Sunday morning 72 years ago when the Japanese attacked the U.S. bases on the Hawaiian Islands.
Mike Psznick, former director of the Trumbull County Veterans Service Commission, said Trumbull County has had a formal Pearl Harbor Remembrance ceremony every year since 2007. Smaller remembrance services were given prior to that time.
"We initially had the ceremony outside of the log cabin (on Courthouse Square), but we soon outgrew it," Psznick said.
Tribune Chronicle photos / Raymond L. Smith
Gary Watson plays taps Saturday morning after the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony at First Presbyterian Church, Warren. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor happened 72 years ago Saturday.
Although there were no more than 32 people attending Saturday's program, Psznick said it is important to continue doing the ceremonies.
"Too often people forget what veterans have done," Psznick said.
During the program, the American Legion Trumbull County Honor Guard spotlighted the Fallen Soldier Table in which the white table cloth represents the purity of each soldier to serve. A single rose and candle are reminders of families and the comrades who keep the faith in waiting for their return.
A slice of lemon on the table is a reminder of the fallen soldier's bitter fate.
They also displayed a battlefield cross, in which a soldier's rifle, dog tags and boots were placed in front of the small audience to remind them of the soldiers sacrifices.
The American Legion Trumbull County Honor Guard gave a 21-gun salute for their fallen comrades who died or were wounded on Dec. 7, 1941.
Brothers, a Korean War veteran from Howland, read a brief history of the attack. At 7:02 a.m. at the Opana Radar Station on Oahu, privates Joseph Lockhard and George Elliott saw blips on their radar screens that concerned them. Reporting what they saw to their commanding officer, they were told not to worry because their commander believed a squadron of U.S. planes were scheduled to arrive that day.
"What they didn't know, and what nobody in America knew, was that Japanese planes had taken off at 6 a.m. from aircraft carriers 230 miles away," Brothers read. "The Japanese were attacking Pearl Harbor."
The first wave of 183 planes dropped bombs on American ships in Pearl Harbor and at three nearby airfields. A second wave of 167 planes followed about an hour later. A fleet of midget submarines also were a part of the Japanese attack.
"When the attack was finished, 21 of the 96 ships at anchor had been sunk and others had been severely damaged," Brothers said. "Of the 394 planes at Kickam, Wheeler and Bellows airfields, 188 were destroyed and 159 were damaged. The death total was 2,403, including 68 civilians. The wounded total was 1,178."
Only 29 Japanese planes and a handful of midget submarines were lost.
Brothers said the Japanese attackers did not realize that the American aircraft carriers were not in port.
"As later results would prove, the aircraft carrier was the dominant ship in the Navy," Brothers said. "By not sinking the American carriers, the Japanese left the American fleet largely intact."