BOALSBURG, Pa (WTAJ) – December 7 is a date that will forever be etched in American hearts; 80 years ago to the date, Pearl Harbor was attacked.
To pay tribute to those killed and missing in action on the USS Pennsylvania battleship, the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg held a commemoration ceremony.
Director Tyler Gum began by retelling what happened on that tragic day.
“80 years ago, sailors, marines and fly boys awoke on December 7, 1941, to a rather normal Hawaiian morning, breakfast, shining portholes, reading, preparing notes and the chaplains preparing for Sunday services,” said Gum.
Gum says it was just before 8 a.m. that the enemy planes appeared out of nowhere, while The Pennsylvania was dry-docked in the Pearl Habor Navy Yard.
“It’s often reported as the first, if not the first to return fire on the enemy planes,” said Gum.
The USS Pennsylvania fended off the bombers and was missed by the Japanese until 9:06 a.m., when it was hit by a 500 lb. bomb, during the second wave of attacks. As a result 15 crewman died and another 14 reported as missing.
“But it was by 10:30 in the morning perhaps her most proud moment that morning that she’d have expanded more than 61,000 rounds of ammunition at the enemy. Her captain Admiral Charles “Savvy” Cooke Jr. remarked during the testimony after-action review, quote ‘conduct of the officers and men was of the highest order, there was no flinching, no necessity of urging the men to action,'” said Gum.
22-year Navy veteran Spence Garvin says it’s important to remember this day so that it’s never forgotten.
“I wasn’t alive on that date but you share things that you wouldn’t in civilian life. It’s a different trust, a different brother and sisterhood if you will. You have the shared memories and shared sacrifices and it was a pleasure to serve the country during that time,” said Garvin.
According to Gum, 990,791 Pennsylvanians would go on to serve in World War II showing that when the call for help is sounded, it is answered.
“What can we learn from this tragic event 80 years later? Well, I would say we are far stronger than we know. As a nation, as a people and as individuals. The watch has ended for those killed on Dec. 7 1941. The beat has fallen from the band. But we gather today, forever to remember Pearl Harbor,” said Gum.
Gum’s remarks were followed by a twenty-one gun salute, and the sounding of a bugle.
The Pennsylvania Military Museum is located at 51 Boalsburg Avenue and can be contacted at 814-466-6263.
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