By Jim Tortolano
Three-quarters of a century ago, on the “day of infamy,” America and a whole generation of Americans were plunged into the great cauldron of World War II by the Japanese attack on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
On Wednesday, that pivotal moment in history was observed at the Veterans’ Memorial on the Huntington Beach Civic Center campus with speeches, an 18-gun salute and a helicopter flyover.
Jim Ghormley of the Huntington Beach American Legion Post 133 served as master of ceremonies, recounting the events and heroism of the day, and reminding members of the audience of the cost and importance of vigilance in a dangerous world.
“We can never forget Pearl Harbor,” he said. “We can never forget 9/11. But freedom is not now, nor will it ever, be free.”
Mayor Jim Katapodis also spoke. “It’s really moving day to be here,” he said. He told of visits to Pearl Harbor at Honolulu and the site of the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York City. “
“You just cannot describe that feeling,” he said of his trip to Pearl. “They are two different places that warm your heart in different ways. We should never forget.”
Karen Woodward, daughter of Bill Woodward, a Huntington Beach resident killed at Pearl Harbor, was present. His name was recently added to the roster of combat dead at the memorial. She walked up to the plaque, kissed two fingers and applied them to the name of her father, and walked back to her seat.
In the closing ceremony, the seven-member honor guard of post members fired three rifle volleys, followed by a flyover by the Huntington Beach Police Department helicopter. The somber bugle sounding of “Taps” then echoed over the assemblage.
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