West Mifflin event recalls fateful day at Pearl Harbor
Veterans were honored at a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony at West Mifflin Area High School.
The event, which got under way in the high school auditorium at 12:55 p.m. on Tuesday, the precise minute of the 69th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the American naval base in Hawaii that caused the United States to enter World War II, drew local veterans from all branches of the military.
Honored specially in the ceremony were two local survivors of the attack, Bernard Ordos of VFW Intrepid Post 914 and Pearson Harkema, who served on the USS Oklahoma.
The Rev. John B. Lendvai of Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church in West Mifflin asked God to protect the nation and its military in his invocation at the onset of the event.
“We ask you to watch over this gathering, watch over this country. May we always be worthy of those freedoms, those sacrifices that so many men and women have made for us in these past 200 years. Most especially 69 years ago today,” Lendvai said.
The ceremony, which has been sponsored by Intrepid Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 since 1991 and is co-sponsored by the Mon Valley chapter of American Merchant Marine Veterans, included music by West Mifflin Area High School wind ensemble and chorus.
Student musician Chelsea Taylor was featured trumpeter in the playing of Taps.
The high school's Air Force Junior ROTC program, under the direction of Maj. Scott R. Harbula and Master Sgt. Oreste DiCerbo, presented the advancing of the colors for the event.
Guest speaker Naval Commander Sam Pennington said events like the one in West Mifflin remembering Pearl Harbor “are very significant.” He drew special attention to attending survivors Ordos and Harkema.
“The reason we get together for events like these is to celebrate our heroes, who not only survived a horrific experience 69 years ago today but they persevered and they overcame tremendous hardships and triumphed over those who brought violence against our nation,” Pennington said.
He also noted the many who didn't survive the attack.
“We're here to remember their sacrifices and rejoice in the gift that they gave to us to ensure our generation's freedom,” he said. “We need to remember the heroes of World War II who sacrificed so much for us all so we live the life that we have today.”
State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Dravosburg, noted that while the attack on Pearl Harbor was devastating, “it did not destroy us.”
Kortz told students participating in the ceremony to consider the great sacrifices made during World War II.
“We must never forget that,” he said. “The lesson learned from Pearl Harbor is this: We must always be vigilant. We must always be ready.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.