Over a dozen people turned out on a dreary overcast day Monday to take part in Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day outside of the old Whitley County Courthouse in Williamsburg.
This is the 11th year for the ceremony, which is sponsored by the William Whitley Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and the Charles A. Gatliff Chapter of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution.
“It is really to show our appreciation for veterans,” noted Dianne Chambers, Regent for the William Whitley Chapter.
During the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 1941, forces from the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service launched a surprise aerial attack on the Pearl Harbor naval base in Honolulu, Hawaii. The attack damaged all eight battleships that were in port, and resulted in the sinking of four of the battleships, in addition to damage done to several other ships. The attack killed 2,403 Americans, wounded 1,178 others, and resulted in the destruction of 188 aircraft.
The day after the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Dec. 7, 1941, as “a day which will live in infamy,” during an address to a joint session of congress, where he requested a formal declaration of war on the Empire of Japan.
Congress approved the declaration of war an hour later.
“Observing Pearl Harbor Day is partly about looking back on a moment that defined American history. Also, it is a solemn event to honor our dead,” Chambers noted during Monday’s event.
William Whitley Chapter Chaplain Aretta Moses lead the invocation Monday. Captain Charles Gatliff Chapter Treasurer Paul Falin lead the pledge of allegiance.
The flag was at half-staff Monday in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Chambers and Dr. David Etter, who is president of the Captain Charles Gatliff Chapter, laid a wreath in front of a veterans’ monument at the old Whitley County Courthouse.
Etter then lead the benediction.
After the ceremony, members of both groups and veterans present posed for a group picture in front of the wreath.