Several Californian World War II veterans began a journey back to Pearl Harbor to participate in a remembrance ceremony.
The group, who left John Wayne Airport on Saturday, will join dozens in Hawaii for this week’s 80th Remembrance Ceremony of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
This year’s theme for the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day commemoration is “Valor, Sacrifice, and Peace.”
Veteran Bryce Jordan, a US Army Air Corp pilot, told CBS Los Angeles that he thought it was terrific that he got a chance to take part in the ceremony.
“It means so much, especially in the last years of my life (because) it’s so important,” the 97-year-old Jordan said.
Pearl Harbor A Defining Moment
The USS Arizona and USS Utah sank under Japanese gunfire, with many dead soldiers interred at the site in 1941. There were 2,335 service members killed during the tragedy, while 1,143 suffered wounds. Japanese warplanes also destroyed or damaged 19 US Navy ships, including eight battleships, and destroyed or damaged more than 300 US aircraft in less than 90 minutes.
The defining World War II moment at Pearl Harbor spurred many to enlist and fight in the war effort.
Cliff Sharp told the news station that he was having lunch when he heard about the attack on the radio. The veteran called the event “shocking” because “we didn’t know there were problems with Japan at the time.”
Veterans who cannot attend can watch the event at pearlharborevents.com and www.dvidshub.net.
Survivor Attending Thanks To Daughter, Strangers
Ike Schab attended this week’s events thanks to the help of his daughter and dozens of strangers.
The 101-year-old Schab told CNN he was on a docked ship when the attack occurred.
“I don’t remember seeing the Arizona get hit, but I remember being at the bow of our ship and a big high tower of flame and debris came off of her,” Schab said. “It’s getting harder to remember these things, but I remember trying not to get killed during the war. Like most people.”
Kimberlee Heinrichs told CNN she knew her dad needed to attend the Pearl Harbor event. But her financial struggles and layoffs made his journey seem impossible. The man required two caregivers for the Hawaii trip, but a veterans organization could only afford one.
Heinrichs started a GoFundMe page and got $5,000 in donations for her father. Now, three caregivers will allow Heinrichs and her husband time off to go on the trip.
The woman said the idea that strangers helped “made her cry.” The family said it was grateful for the generosity and the opportunity to get Schab to the ceremony. On Sunday, the man conducted the PACFLEET band at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.
The news channel said last year’s Pearl Harbor event was the first that no survivors or eyewitnesses attended due to the pandemic. According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, 240,329 of 16 million Americans who served in World War II are still alive.