They remembered Pearl Harbor.
They remembered Japanese fighter planes wreaking havoc on U.S. warships, airfields and nearby buildings, killing 2,403 Americans. They remembered the call of "Tora! Tora! Tora!" by Mitsuo Fuchida, the leader of the first wave of Japanese fighters, and they remembered President Franklin D. Roosevelt declaring Dec. 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy."
Through history, song and prayer, members of U.S. Navy Club of Kenosha Ship 40 on Tuesday morning marked the 80 anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
About 70 people, a mix of Navy veterans, local government officials and civilians, attended the Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony held Tuesday at the Civil War Museum, 5400 First Ave. Now held indoors, until 2018 the ceremony was held outdoors at Navy Memorial Park, located at 52nd Street and Sixth Avenue.
Recounting the history leading up to the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in the early morning of Dec. 7, 1941, was Dean Jensen, U.S. Navy Club of Kenosha Ship 40 historian.
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“(The facts) are gut-wrenching but the event was a catalyst for the U.S. to finally enter World War II,” Jensen said. "Remembering is a testimony to the need for constant vigilance."
Jensen reported that 57 men from Wisconsin died in the attack and he read the names of those from our area: Private Paul Herrick, Marine Corps, Kenosha; Musician’s Mate Gerald C. Cox, USS Arizona, Racine; Seaman First Class Harvey Hansen, USS Arizona, Racine.
After each name was read, a ship’s bell was rung by Bill Ennis, Navy Club Ship 40's master at arms.
"The toll of the ship's bell recalls reverence for those absent shipmates and those gathered here today," said Dan Fluck, Navy Club Ship 40's chaplain.
“This is why it is important to never forget this event,” Jensen said. “I am glad I could contribute to this today.”
In the back of the room at the museum was a Pearl Harbor display featuring a reproduction of the front page of the Boston Daily Globe from the day of the attack.
A happier anniversary
U.S. Navy Club of Kenosha Ship 40 also marks its 80 anniversary this year.
Its charter was signed on Nov. 16, 1941, nearly a month prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, noted Kenosha Navy Club Ship 40 commander Paul Meyer.
A member of Kenosha Navy Club Ship 40 for six years, Ennis said, “They are a good group to belong to for fellowship and for things they do for other veterans.”
“I love these guys. They’re just wonderful,” said Gary Beltoya, a member of Navy Club Ship 40.
Beltoya, who served with Army for two tours duty in Vietnam, led ceremony participants in the National Anthem before Jensen’s program.
"It's good to remember, and it needs to be remembered," said Jackie Dean, who attended with husband and Army veteran, Milt Dean. "It was lovely and solemn."
"It's sad but an important time to reflect," Milt Dean said.
Legion post also honors day
American Legion Paul Herrick Post 21 also hosted public events this week in remembrance of Pearl Harbor.
An open house was held Saturday and Sunday at the post, 504 58th St., Kenosha.
A remembrance ceremony scheduled to take place Tuesday evening was to include the dedication of Honorary Paul Herrick Boulevard located on 58th Street between the lake and Sheridan Road. Herrick, a Kenosha native and namesake of the post, died during the attack.