MONTVILLE, NJ – A few Montville residents gathered to mark the 76th anniversary of Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day at the Montville Youth Center.
Montville VFW Post #5481 Former Commander Frank Warholic led the ceremony but was saddened by the aging status of the post.
“We didn’t have enough people to have a color guard or do the gun salute,” he said.
Still he marked the day by introducing Rabbi Mark Finkel of Pine Brook Jewish Center, who spoke the invocation, praying to remember those who perished.
Warholic dedicated the ceremony, stating that the sacrifices of those lost would never be forgotten.
He then quoted Admiral Tom Fargo, who stated, “We have a solemn obligation to protect and preserve for history the sacrifices and lessons of Pearl Harbor and the war in the Pacific for generations to come.”
To the bell tolling eight times for the fact that the attack occurred at 7:55 a.m. local time, a folded flag and Pearl Harbor cross were brought forward by members of VFW Post #2906 Bill Bashaw and Thomas Fitzpatrick, who also participated in the ceremony. Both men are former commanders for their post, which is located in Pompton Lakes.
Warholic told of the U.S.S. Arizona sinking at 8:10 a.m. with its crew of 1,177 entombed in its bulkheads. Warholic said 2,343 service people were killed, 1,272 were wounded, and 960 were deemed missing, whereas no formal proclamation of war had been made.
Wreaths, composed of black leaves, red, white and blue carnations, and red white and blue ribbons, and flags were brought to the front of the room to commemorate the battles, ships, and service members. Warholic read part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s speech, delivered before a joint session of Congress on Dec. 8, urging the government to declare war on Japan and rallying the American people to support that effort. The speech is commonly referred to by the phrase, “The day that shall live in infamy.”
“The cry of ‘Remember Pearl Harbor’ must be forever ingrained on the psyche of the American people,” Warholic said.
The songs “Taps” and “God Bless America” were played, followed by a benediction by Rabbi Finkel.
Veterans wishing to join the post should contact Tom Mazzaccaro at firstname.lastname@example.org.