Residents remember Pearl Harbor attack

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An honor guard rifle team from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6060 renders a three-volley salute at a Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony at Veterans Park in downtown Elizabeth City, Friday morning.


By Chris Day
Multimedia Editor

Saturday, December 8, 2018

More than 2,400 Americans lost their lives in the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. On Friday, veterans and residents turned out to remember them in a ceremony at Veterans Park in Elizabeth City.

Hosting the observance was the William C. Jackson Post 6060 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which is named for a local serviceman killed at Pearl Harbor. 

“It was a date which will live in infamy,” said Ken Sandridge, quoting from the famous opening line of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s address to Congress following the Japanese attack on U.S. military forces. 

It was 77 years ago that the Japanese carried out their suprise early morning attack, said Sandridge, who is president of the William C. Jackson VFW post.

“We’re here today to commemorate the anniversary of that date,” he told an audience of about 50 people represented by several veterans organizations and residents. 

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class William C. Jackson, 19, was killed at Pearl Harbor while stationed aboard the USS West Virginia, one of the ships attacked and sunk in the attack.  

Sandridge opened the ceremony promptly at 11:45 a.m. in leading the Pledge of Allegiance. After brief words from Sandridge, the VFW honor guard performed a three-volley rifle salute and taps was played.

Next, different organizations approached the rail overlooking the Pasquotank River and one at a time tossed remembrance wreaths into the water. With red bows attached to each, the wreaths were picked up by the river current and carried away south. 

According to the website visitpearlharbor.org, 2,335 service members were killed at Pearl Harbor. The website states the following casualty totals for each branch of the military:

* 2,008 Navy;

* 109 Marines;

* 218 Army.

Also, 68 civilians were killed, the website states, for a total of 2,403 lives lost.

In addition to VFW Post 6060, also representing various area veterans organizations Friday were the Fleet Reserve Association, Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion and the Patriot Guard Riders.

The Patriot Guard Riders will also participate in next Saturday’s Wreaths Across America event at New Hollywood Cemetery. That ceremony starts at noon.