GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County VFW Post 4464 Honor Guard gathered in front of the “Spirit of the Dough Boy” veteran memorial in Gallipolis City Park to honor the sacrifices of those who passed on Dec. 7, 1941, a date 75 years from Wednesday.
As part of the 75th anniversary of the attacks, the guard held a firing salute as well as a prayer and silent moment for those who passed. VFW members laid a memorial wreath at the base of the “Spirit of the Dough Boy” memorial before placing it in the Ohio River to remember the battle at the famous Hawaii naval base.
“We are gathered here today to pay tribute to our men and women who lost their lives on this day 1941, Dec. 7,” said VFW 4464 Post Commander Bill Mangus. “There were 2,335 killed in action, 1,000 wounded. There were 20 naval vessels destroyed and 300 aircraft lost. Ohio had 28 veterans on the USS Arizona that went down with the vessel. To us veterans, this is a very special day for us because that’s why we are still here. Because of them.”
The post’s chaplain held a prayer for those lost beseeching God to remember the men and women who were called to serve and protect the country. Mangus handed the ejected cartridges of the blank rifle rounds fired in salute to those who died at Pearl Harbor to members of the assembled crowd.
VFW members would return to the post on Third Avenue for a meal.
Ultimately, the attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor would be what drew America into World War II. Historians have claimed the Japanese attack was meant to serve as a preventative measure to keep the American Pacific Fleet out of southeast Asian conflicts as Japan invaded multiple countries in that region. Reportedly, the attacks began at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian time. The US would declare war on Japan the following day, Dec. 8, 1941. Nazi Germany would declare war on the US that Dec. 11. Japan announced it would surrender to the Americans Aug. 15, 1945 and signed a formal surrender the following Sept. 2.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.