Members of the New Carlisle Chapter No. 57 Royal Arch Masons reminded New Carlisle that some anniversaries are so important they deserved to be remembered, even if they are not a cause for celebration, by hosting a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on Dec. 7 at the New Carlisle Masonic Lodge on Main St. in downtown New Carlisle
The event did not just remind the community of the events that drew the United States into a war with Japan during World War II, it was held in order to recognize area military veterans and to honor and pay gratitude to those who have given so much in service to the United States of America.
The U.S. was already fighting in the Germans across the Atlantic Ocean when the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service bombed the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor in the territory of Hawaii on a sunny Sunday morning in 1941.
There were 2,403 American military and civilian personnel killed and 1,178 injured in the attack.
The attack thrust the U.S. into fighting in the Pacific Ocean as well. Over 16 million Americans served during WWII. Nearly 406,000 Americans were killed and over 671,000 were wounded in the fighting.
Ann Ianni addressed the gathering by saying a few words about her brother, William “Billy” Welch, whose remains were recently returned to his family 75 years after he was killed aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma, the first ship to be hit in the Pearl Harbor attack. Ianni also thanked the community for their support of her family in recent months.
MSgt. Antonio Ruiz, an advisor to Tecumseh High School’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Unit OH-881 (AFJROTC), was the keynote speaker for the evening. He used pictures of the attack to walk listeners through the events of Dec. 7, 1941.
MSgt. Ruiz says the men and women who served in the U.S. military before him are his “heroes” and it is important to remember the sacrifices all servicemen and servicewomen have made, not just at Pearl Harbor, but throughout history.
AFJROTC cadets took part in a flag folding ceremony with MSgt. Ruiz. They say they were “honored and excited” to take part in the event.
Local musician, Wayne Hobbs, provided music for the evening.
The Masons took time to recognize each of the veterans gathered at the ceremony. The veterans received a certificate of thanks from the Lodge, in honor of the services they rendered to the United States.
Several Masons say the Lodge held the ceremony because they believe it is imperative to remember Pearl Harbor. One gentleman commented, “Once the memory fades of a horrendous event like that, where the U.S. was surprised by an attack because it had become complacent, we are doomed to repeat history and have something like that happen all over again.”
The veterans gathered say they were moved by the attention and gratitude shown to them by the Masons and the community, even though many of them did not serve in WWII.