Community remembers Pearl Harbor
By JASMINE WILLIS
OBSERVER Staff Writer
Dec. 7, 1941 started out just another beautiful sunny day but would soon be known forever as a dark tragic day which will always live in infamy.
The Dunkirk Memorial Post 62 honored Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Saturday afternoon.
Commander Dennis Mulkin made the introductions and Temporary Chaplain Ronald Miller gave the prayers.
Post Commander Butch Piglowski, County Commander Craig Sutton, and Vice Commander Jack Hood Jr. were asked to present three speeches in remembrance of Pearl Harbor.
The first reading was written by Mrs. Mulkin and presented by Piglowski.
“We are all children of veterans- one way or another- of that greatest generation and I want us to remember that,” Piglowski said.
Piglowski continued, “On that day which will always live in infamy, it is important to remember those who lived through the attack on Pearl Harbor, and more importantly to remember those who did not.”
Piglowski ended with “we will never forget the day that will live on forever.”
The second reading was presented by Sutton.
“Those who serve in the U.S and endure prisonment are not to be forgotten,” he said.
Sutton said we are to “recognize” the POWs and MIAs.
The POW/MIA ceremony was given with a small table to represent someone still missing; the small table symbolizes one prisoner. The white table cloth is to symbolize a response to call of arms. The single rose in a vase symbolizes the blood they may have shed. A slice of lemon symbolizes their bitter fate; followed by the salt which symbolizes the families as they wait. A glass is inverted to symbolize they are not able to toast with us, and an empty chair to symbolize they are not here. Finally a candle is lit to help guide them home to the “grateful arms of the nation.”
The third and final reading was presented by Hood.
Technical Sgt. Joseph Pesek was 23 years old on that tragic December day 72 years ago. He has written about his experience. On Saturday, Hood read out loud Pesek’s personal account of what happened that day.
“On the morning of December 7, 1941, I got up shortly after 6 a.m. and walked to the NCO club for breakfast, which was adjacent to the Pearl Harbor Naval Base. At the time I was a Tech Sergeant in the 5th Bomber Group and sharing half of a duplex government house with Joe Barrett, 4th Recon. Squadron. After breakfast, I headed for the bus stop to wait for the 8:05 bus to take me to Honolulu where I was to play golf at the Wai Lai Golf Course,” he began.
“As the first plane pulled up only several hundred feet to my left with machine guns blazing, I saw the Rising Sun insignia on the wings and knew we were under attack,” he continued.
“They were passing out rifles from the armament room so I got in line thinking at least it may be some protection later on. By the time I reached the head of the line, all rifles and helmets had been given out. I then started to carry canisters of 50 caliber ammo out of the armament room so they could be loaded into any of the aircraft still in commission,” he continued. “Just then the hangar took a hit from a large bomb dropped from a high altitude flight. It felt as though the whole hangar was lifted from the ground. The next thing I knew, I was picking myself up off the ramp between hangars 7 and 11, my back covered with white plaster blown out from the hangar.
“I got up and started to run again and almost made the edge of the runway when three more planes came at me. They were so low that I could see the ground kicking up where their machine-gun bullets were hitting. I hit the ground again covering my head with my hands. It seemed as though a thousand things passed through my mind mostly of home and my family. I could not believe it when those three planes passed right over without hitting me,” he continued. “I looked up as they passed and thought the sky never looked bluer.”
Hood ended the speech with a perfect reflection of the day and what it means.
“No one slept the night of December 7, 1941,” he said. “I have read many accounts and talked to a lot of eyewitnesses and survivors and stories differ. Many people were still in bed when the attack first began and saw things a little differently according to where they were at first sightings.”
On that day so very long ago everything changed and every story tells the tragedy of Pearl Harbor.