Amid Pandemic, Pearl Harbor Survivors Commemorate Anniversary at Home

Survivors of the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor will commemorate the anniversary at home this year, with gatherings banned and most large events canceled in the United States amid surging numbers of coronavirus cases.In past years, thousands of people – survivors, current members of the military, tourists, and locals – have attended ceremonies on the naval base in Hawaii honoring those killed in a Japanese aerial assault. The attack, launched to destroy the U.S. Pacific fleet and with the aim of keeping the United States out of the war, took 2,390 American lives.Of those, 1,177 were Marines and sailors serving on the battleship USS Arizona, moored in the harbor. FILE – American ships burn during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo.The ship still rests in the harbor and is a grave for more than 900 men killed in the attack. The white memorial structure built above the ship is visited each year by nearly 2 million people. This year, the National Park Service and the U.S. Navy, who jointly host the annual event on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, will close the ceremony to the public to limit its size. The event will be live streamed instead. The ceremony will include a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the moment the Japanese attack began, and a flyover in a missing man formation in which one plane leaves the formation and flies high in the sky, leaving an empty space in honor of the lives lost. The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet will deliver a speech.A Veterans Day wreath left Nov. 11, 2020, in Scottsdale, Ariz., at the USS Arizona Memorial Gardens, a site honoring each of the ship’s 1,512 crew members, including the 1,177 who died at Pearl Harbor.Last year, three of the survivors of the attack attended the ceremony in Hawaii, but this year none will be present because of the concerns about the pandemic, which has been particularly deadly for older people.Navy sailor Mickey Ganitch, 101, has attended most of the annual ceremonies since the attack, but this year, he will be observing a moment of silence from his home in California.“That’s the way it goes. You got to ride with the tide,” Mickey Ganitch, a 101-year-old survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor, holds a football statue he was given, in the living room of his home in San Leandro, Calif., Nov. 20, 2020.Asked why Ganitch likes returning to Pearl Harbor for the annual remembrance ceremony. “We’re respecting them by being there and showing up and honoring them. Cause they’re really the heroes,” Ganitch said.

About The Author

Leave a Reply