Veterans from the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Desert Storm gathered with their loved ones Friday, Dec. 7 at the Dunkirk Memorial American Legion Post 62 in honor of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. These men and women assemble every year to pay tribute to those who lost their lives that fateful morning in 1941, and to all veterans who have made sacrifices in the defense of our country.
Post Commander Butch Piglowski led the ceremonies. He opened with the sad facts - that on Dec. 7, 1941, more than 2,000 American citizens were killed, and more than 1,000 injured. Extensive damage was done to the United States military fleet. The next day, on Dec. 8, President Roosevelt signed the official papers, and the United States joined the Allied forces in World War II.
Piglowski went on to recall the shock of the attack on Pearl Harbor during such a peaceful morning for a nation celebrating recovery from the economic depression of the 1930s. He reviewed the advancements in technology and infrastructure that have been gained since that time, but made it clear that that day should not be lost to the pages of dusty history books.
OBSERVER Photo by Rebecca Schwab
Pictured are members of the firing team: Ken DeLong, Dave Huels, and Tom Rugani.
"December 7, 1941 was a terrible lesson," Piglowski said. "Remembering that day is important to us and to the future of our nation."
Piglowski explained the significance of the POW/MIA memorial table, left set in honor of those veterans who did not make it home.
Chaplain Sandra Tapasto read a prayer in remembrance of veterans and their service to our country. Those in attendance stood with bowed heads, reflecting on the significance of the words.
A firing team consisting of Veterans Honor Guard members Ken DeLong, Dave Huels, and Tom Rugani fired three rifle volleys, followed by the playing of Taps.
Piglowski concluded the ceremony with a phrase that rings true for all of those departed men and women who have served our country: "God rest their souls."