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Boalsburg ceremony remembers Pearl Harbor attack

by on December 13, 2018 10:36 AM

BOALSBURG — We have all seen the grainy, black and white newsreel films showing the Japanese attack on the American naval fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The films show twisted metal, flames, and huge clouds of thick, black smoke rising high into the sky. The next scene shows President Franklin D. Roosevelt calling Dec. 7, 1941 “a date which will live in infamy,” as America declared war on Japan in response to the attack.

The image of those films was brought to mind for about 75 people gathered for a remembrance ceremony on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, at 12:45 p.m., exactly 77 years to the minute after the infamous attack.

The speaker for the event was retired U.S. Navy Capt. James Bloom. In his remarks, Bloom noted that the shock of the attack turned to anger and frustration as the Japanese attacked other U.S. installations and landed on American territorial soil in the Philippines.

“Not since the War of 1812 had our sovereign territory been thus violated,” he said. The attack erased many divisions in our citizenry, and united the country in a singular cause, as the phrase “Remember Pearl Harbor” entered the American lexicon as a battle cry.

Bloom spoke of the Dec. 22, 1941, issue of 'Life' magazine, which devoted much space to America’s new wartime situation. The magazine’s articles spoke of the tragedy of the blood spilled and lives lost, and described the treachery of our foe. Other articles warned of what was a common fear then of potential Japanese attacks on the California coast. Silhouette pictures of Japanese fighter planes were shown for identification, as well as U.S. warplanes, many of which were still biplanes from the 1930s era.

“In retrospect, this issue of “Life” is anachronistic, at times comical, but at other times sobering. It provides us today with a public perspective contemporary to the Pearl Harbor attack,” Bloom said. “It implies, if not stating outright, the importance of remembering the Pearl Harbor debacle.”

Bloom said the vision of that attack helped to see the country through the turmoil and struggle of the four years that followed.
“Remembering Pearl Harbor — remembering the indignity, and holding in mind the gravity of the event were critical in 1941,” said Bloom.

Bloom concluded his remarks saying “We are assembled today to preserve the memory of Pearl Harbor and to hallow the 2,335 American fighting men and women who lost their lives this morning. I hope we will continue to assemble here on every Dec. 7 to come, as long as we have voices to speak.”

Following Bloom’s speech, a volley of rifle shots was fired by an honor guard from American Legion Post 245, and taps was played by bugler Dave Strouse.


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