CHAPEL HILL – “A date which will live in infamy” as then President of the United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt called it.
It’s been 72 years since the surprise attack by the Japanese on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
American Legion Post 6 Commander Lee Heavlin said the local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars gathered Friday night and took a moment to remember the more than 2,200 Americans who died during the attack.
“It’s important that we as veterans keep what happened alive,” Heavlin said.
Intended to neutralize the US Pacific Fleet, the attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy led to the United States’ entry into World War II.
World War II veteran Major Everett “Bud” Hampton, who served in the Marine Corp, said that though years have passed, the memory of the moment he found out the news of Pearl Harbor remains clear.
“I was at my girlfriend’s house on Sunday afternoon,” Hampton said. “It took everyone by surprise, not even knowing where Pearl Harbor was.”
Hampton said what happened at Pearl Harbor motivated him to enlist. He participated in four major operations while serving in the Pacific Ocean theater.
The air attack on Pearl Harbor came in two waves of Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes. The first wave targeted “Battleship Row,” on the east side of Ford Island. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, of which four were sunk.
“I’m in awe. I’m in awe. When you think about all the men on these ships—hundreds and hundreds of people,” Heavlin said. “Each ship is literally a small town. To lose that, in massive numbers in the early morning when everyone was sitting back and relaxing for Sunday—it was tough. It was tough.”
Heavlin said the Veterans of Foreign Wars will commemorate the anniversary of Pearl Harbor while participating in several holiday parades this weekend.
He said it is now up to a new generation to remember and honor those who died in the attack.
“From the older generation, we’ve lost a lot of World War II veterans. Some of the children of World War II veterans are now senior citizens themselves,” Heavlin said.
The attack lasted less than two hours but took a heavy toll on the Pearl Harbor Naval Base. In addition to the four battleships that were sunk, 188 aircraft were destroyed. For its part, Japan lost 64 men and 29 planes, according to Time Magazine.http://chapelboro.com/news/international/remembering-date-lives-infamy/
CHAPEL HILL- Take home some treasures and support a good cause on Saturday when the American Legion veterans host a yard sale to benefit Chapel Hill’s Legion Post 6.
Post Commander Lee Heavlin says there’s something for everyone at the sale.
“We’ve got knicks and knacks, a nice high-post bed, bicycles, lawn mulchers, jewelry, collectibles, you name it,” says Heavlin. “And we’ve got in all inside so people can come in, stay cool, look around and pick out their treasures.”
Proceeds go to maintaining and improving the Post, which is used by veterans, Boy Scouts and the wider community.
The event runs from 8 a.m to 1 p.m. Saturday at the American Legion Post 6 on Legion Road. Click here for more information.http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/take-home-treasures-to-support-post-6-on-saturday/
Memorial Day is over and it was well celebrated by many citizens in our community. Lots of work went into the activities and more than a few lent their time and energy to make all of the events a success. Why do they do it, some may wonder. There’s really a pretty simple answer; they do it because they care!
Who’s “they?” They are the members and the auxiliaries of The Veterans of Foreign Wars, C.V. Cummings Chapel Hill Post 9100 and American Legion Post 6 and community volunteers. Each year they work long hours to ensure that Memorial Day is properly celebrated and that those who died in battle are properly remembered.
Planning begins early to make the event a smooth and efficient operation. On the Saturday before Memorial Day, Boy Scouts, veterans and family members gathered early in the morning at Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery to drape flags on more than 500 graves of local service men and women. When they completed the task, they conducted a short, public memorial service in the cemetery with the help of the Boy Scouts.
Later Saturday morning, The Veterans of Foreign Wars distributed poppies at University Mall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The tradition of handing out poppies goes back almost 100 years and the poppies are now the symbol for the Veterans of Foreign Wars in remembrance of those who have served and died. Made by hospitalized veterans, the VFW believes that handing out the flowers with a simple “please remember” message is very effective.
On Memorial Day, another brief memorial service at the cemetery started the day’s events. The American Legion Post held an open house from 10-11 a.m. and there were tables laden with scrapbooks, military equipment, and memorabilia, all watched over by a variety of uniforms and photos hanging on the walls. The formal program started at 11 a.m.
This year, the Orange County Sheriff’s Color Guard presented the colors. After an opening prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, Ms. Cathy Klein sang the National Anthem. As is their tradition, there was a reading of British Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s 1915 poem, “In Flanders Field.
The guest speaker for this year was Colonel Saul Strauss, U.S. Army (Retired). As a World War II veteran, Colonel Strauss shared his battlefield experiences treating the wounded, irrespective of their uniform; he just treated people, he said. Following his presentation Mr. Markos Simopoulos provided a rendition of “America the Beautiful. The program leaders then dedicated a wreath and conducted a very stirring “Two Bell Ceremony” in tribute to the departed.
After retiring the colors and the closing prayer, guest observed the wreath that was placed at the flagpole. In spite of the heat, people gathered wherever they could find some shade to hear a concert by The Village Band and visit the display tables organizations set up. To satisfy the hungry crowd, Boy Scout Troop 835 prepared hot dogs and served drinks provided by The Chapel Hill Magazine again this year.
Yes, it took a lot of planning to make all of the moving parts come together to properly honor our fallen heroes and heroines, and all of those who made it all come together should be proud, especially VFW Commander, Master Chief Petty Officer Lee Heavlin and Robert Patton, Adjutant, VFW Post 9100.
So why do they do it? They think it is important to do it. They know we must remember and teach the true meaning of Memorial Day. They served. They care.
What do you think?http://chapelboro.com/columns/fred-said/why-do-they-do-it/