Pearl Harbor remembered at Armed Forces Retirement Home - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pearl Harbor remembered at Armed Forces Retirement Home

Harold McDaniel and Marvin Westcott presented a memorial wreath. The two men were at Pearl Harbor the day of the attack and the first day after. (Photo source: WLOX) Harold McDaniel and Marvin Westcott presented a memorial wreath. The two men were at Pearl Harbor the day of the attack and the first day after. (Photo source: WLOX)
Residents gathered beneath the flag pole Monday morning for the annual Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony. Residents gathered beneath the flag pole Monday morning for the annual Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony.
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

It was the attack which provoked the United States into World War II. Seventy four years ago, Japan stunned America with an early morning raid on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor.

The Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport held its annual Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony Monday morning.

“Dec. 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy,” the voice of President Franklin Roosevelt boomed across the reflection pond in front of the retirement home.

The annual ceremony began with a replaying of that famous speech the President made the day after the surprise attack.

“Then, in one horrible instant, they froze in disbelief,” said Chris Alexander as the chief of resident services recounted the events of that historic day. “Imagine the chaos of gun and smoke. Flaming water and ghastly carnage. Two thousand four hundred three Americans gave their lives, but they will live forever in our memory,” said Alexander.

Marvin Westcott will never forget. He was aboard a U.S. ship that pulled into Pearl Harbor the day after.

“There they were, turned over, on fire, sunk. Couldn't believe it. The battleships. Then bodies floating by. Oil all over. Fire on the oil,” Westcott recalled.

Westcott and fellow veteran Harold McDaniel presented the memorial wreath. McDaniel was on the USS Gridley at the entrance to Pearl Harbor when the attack occurred.

“All I could hear was the 50 calibers rattling, but we got fuel the next morning and out we went to chase submarines,” McDaniel remembered.

“I pray, good Lord God, your blessings upon these, the most honored generation, the greatest generation. Those that fought during the Second World War,” said Chaplain Michael Gibson.

“I will say this. At the end, when I retired, I was blessed to serve and blessed to return,” said Westcott.

Although the attack on Pearl Harbor lasted just two hours, the damage was devastating. The Japanese destroyed nearly 20 Navy vessels, including eight battleships and some 200 airplanes.

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