Thursday, December 07, 2006

Remembering Pearl Harbor

I have had the honor of knowing two Pearl Harbor Survivors. One, George O'Brien, left us last year, taken by Alzheimers. Before he died, George would always show up at the VFW for parades and events in his suit, wanting to march or participate. Even when he could no longer remember his way home, he would remember Pearl Harbor.

I first met this gentleman at a VFW event. From the Rockford Register Star:

LaVerne Lundstrom was a 23-year-old sailor on the USS Nevada on Dec. 7, 1941, when the first Japanese bombs began raining down on Pearl Harbor.

Sixty-five years later, the Machesney Park veteran can recall with ease specific details about that day — running to various battle stations, loading ammunition and escaping the ship.

He makes sure to attend Pearl Harbor memorial services each year and plans to mark the 65th anniversary by traveling to a ceremony at Chicago’s Navy Pier this morning.

“This day always brings back memories,” said Lundstrom, who is part of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association because “it’s important to keep America alert as to this is what happened so people don’t forget.”

But as the years pass, taking with them an increasing number of Pearl Harbor survivors, a watershed moment in America’s history becomes less recognized, veterans say.

The next time I met him was at Rockford Memorial Hospital, with a wheelchair. He was pushing it. Mr. Lundstrom has been a volunteer at the hospital for longer than I have been alive. At 88, he is still there.

Greatest Generation indeed.


At 12/07/2006, Blogger Richmond said...

It's good to remember these fine folks. Thanks, RM.

At 12/07/2006, Blogger The Senate Site said...

Nice memories. Thanks.


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