Nation, Veterans Remember 70th Anniversary Of Pearl Harbor

By: KKTV/AP Email
By: KKTV/AP Email
The 70th anniversary of the attack that plunged the United States into World War II was commemorated Wednesday in Colorado Springs

Pearl Harbor 70th anniversary commemoration ceremony at Memorial Park.

Veterans of Pearl Harbor, many now nearing their 100th birthdays, seem to have a shared hope that the younger generations don’t forget what happened to them on that fateful day.

The attack took place on a Sunday morning in Hawaii. Without warning, hundreds of Japanese warplanes swooped down to attack most of the U.S. Pacific fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor.

The attack would plunge the isolationist-minded United States into World War II.

It was a deadly day for all. Nearly 2400 Americans lost their lives in the attack. Twelve ships were sunk or beached; nine others were damaged. The U.S. lost 164 aircraft. On the Japanese side, 64 died and 29 planes were destroyed.

The youngest of the local survivors, Bill Browning, says he was lucky to be on a cargo ship and not a targeted ship during the attacks. "I was just a young fella – 19 - at Pearl Harbor. I remember quite a bit about it. It had a real affect on the young mind,” he said. “It was a dastardly attack. We lost a lot of men.”

“One plane banked low so that the machine gun could get a shot at where I was standing, but it didn’t make quite far enough. So the war became pretty personal,” another survivor, Jim Downic, told KKTV 11 News during a gathering of veterans over the weekend.

One day after the attack, President Franklin Roosevelt went before Congress to ask for a declaration of war. Congress approved it within hours.

Other local veterans have traveled to Hawaii for a memorial at Pearl Harbor.

Browning says he wants to make sure the tragedy of the attack isn't forgotten. "The national association is closing this year, and I just hope we don't leave the public's thoughts," Browning said.

Pearl Harbor Survivors Association President William Muehleib announced the group, which was founded in 1958, would disband Wednesday. He cited the age and poor health of remaining members. He thanked the executive board for its courage in reaching the decision.

The attack was commemorated Wednesday morning with a ceremony in Colorado Springs' Memorial Park. The ceremony included a wreath-laying, a moment of silence and a playing of Taps.

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  • by Greg Location: Colorado Springs on Dec 7, 2011 at 01:13 PM
    I just attended the most moving ceremony at Memorial Park . The Navy League and Rocky Mountain presented a Pearl Harbor memorial ceremony with major General Walsh giving the keynote address. In attendance was 8 Pearl Harbor survivors, the concert band from Fort Lewis and the Wasson High School Navy JROTC unit. There were at least 100 persons in attendance. It was a fabulous ceremony. Prayers and cheers to our departed service members and those still serving.
    • reply
      by william on Dec 11, 2011 at 10:11 PM in reply to Greg
      I agree with your sentiment however the band was from Fort Carson.
  • by Al C. Location: CS on Dec 7, 2011 at 12:32 PM
    War was different in 1941. You gathered around the radio and believed everything you heard knowing that your government was protecting you. Now, the late night TV hosts make jokes about terrorism and Osama Bin Laden. Why shouldn't they? We now know that not all the truth is the truth, our government is nowhere near telling us the truth and the military-industrial complex is no longer a "theory." 9/11 will be forgotten, too, just like the next terrorist attack. Your government wants you to remember these events for a reason. Funny how the American Revolution does not get as much attention. After all, the feds don't want to give you any ideas as America becomes a police state.
  • by Anne Location: Colorado Springs on Dec 7, 2011 at 10:25 AM
    This is a good lesson for foreign countries, too. When we attack, don't get so upset.
  • by Carl on Dec 7, 2011 at 10:19 AM
    It's human nature to forget and move on. Only your government and media have an interest in reminding you never to forget.
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