Veterans Day 2012
I was honored today to be able to lay a wreath for all the Veterans of World War I. The ceremony was the 58th Anniversary of Veterans Day and was celebrated at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month and is the time and date of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. It was called Armistice Day until 1954 when it was renamed Veterans Day by an Act of Congress.
Our ceremony is held at Myrtle Hill Cemetery where graves of veterans of the Civil War and all other wars are remembered and honored each year. Myrtle Hill is also the home of the Tomb of the Known Soldier, Charles Graves, who died in France during World War I.
The speaker was Bob Kerr, a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He said that he speaks in order to keep the memories of Pearl Harbor alive. Too often history is not being taught to the youth of today. He mentioned that recently that while being introduced to an elementary class, the teacher said that he would be speaking about Pearl Harbor when one of the students raised their hand and asked “Who’s she?”
He also mentioned three facts that I did not know about Pearl Harbor.
1. On December 4, 1941, the base was put on alert. All pilots were available, all planes were gassed up, all ammunition and bombs were loaded, The Navy personnel were aboard ship and all ground troops were at the ready. On December 6, 1942 at approximately 6pm, the alert was cancelled and the troops returned to normal duty. To this day, no one knows who or why the alert was cancelled.
2. On the afternoon of December 6, 1942 a Navy ship reported a periscope off the coast of Oahu and radioed the sighting in. When told that there was no submarine activity in that area, the target was fired on and no other thought of it until a submarine was recovered in that spot many years later. It was a Japanese submarine.
3. On the morning of December 7, 1942, a radar operator called in and said that he had blips on his screen. He was reminded that there were twelve planes due in at some time that morning. He reported that there were a lot more than twelve blips on his screen. Since radar was “new”, he was told to perform maintenance on it because something must be wrong with it.
If any of these three items had been followed up on, things might have turned out different and who knows what would have happened to change the course of World War II.
Who knows what would have happened to change the course of history and the wars of the future.
After these services, a Flag Retirement Service was also held. I have never seen one of those and was impressed by seeing in person what I only knew about from reading about on Flag Day. Flag Day is no longer celebrated like it was when I was younger.
I was fine with all of the ceremonies until the end of each one when the 21 gun salute and the playing of TAPS occurred. It was then that my composure disappeared and the tears welled up in my eyes.
God Bless all the Veterans who have fought for this country and have kept us free. I am proud to have served among their number and am proud to call them Brothers. I call them Brothers every day, not just on Veterans Day.
Thank you to all of those who have served and “Welcome Home” to all those who came home to a less than deserved “job well done.”