On Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, more than 3,000 people came aboard the Joint Base to join in the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony.
This year marks seven decades of peace—the end of the Second World War and the continuation along the “Pathway to Reconciliation” (this year’s remembrance theme).
We conducted Monday’s ceremony at Kilo Pier overlooking USS Arizona Memorial and Battleship Missouri Memorial.
From where I sat, the morning sun made the memorials appear to glow as USS Preble and its crew performed a pass-in-review, rendering honors to Pearl Harbor victims and survivors.
Hundreds of people —military and civilian —made the ceremony a successful and touching tribute to our veterans.
I am hesitant to call out individuals by name because there are so many who deserve our gratitude. So to avoid the inevitable risk of leaving someone out, I’ll give ‘shout outs’ to organizations with the understanding that their great team players did great, great work.
Big thanks go to the National Park Service professionals. They not only co-hosted Monday’s event at Kilo Pier but also sponsored many other ceremonies and events starting more than a week ago.
I thank our other uniformed services team-mates — part of the extended ohana and joint effort. I thank our Japanese guests who demonstrated warmth and grace. And I thank the many wreath donors and other sponsors and partners.
Of course, I am exceptionally proud of the region and Joint Base team —military and civilian —who coordinated all the details with various stake-holders. Well done!
This year Fox Sports showed us how much the nation appreciates our military service members. The Fox NFL Sunday show broadcasted live from Mighty Mo and aired features that focused on our Pearl Harbor attack survivors and our service members here today. Fox Sports also provided live coverage of two NCAA games from Bloch Area: Oklahoma vs. Villanova and Navy vs. Oregon.
Over the past week, Major League baseball players, USA Women’s World Soccer team members and NCAA athletes came to pay their respects at the monuments. They met wounded warriors, toured ships and spent time with military families.
Because of the positive national media coverage and extensive use of social media, we achieved greater awareness and recognition of our veterans – especially the Greatest Generation.
Many of the young athletes who visited with us are the same age as the veterans who served in Pearl Harbor 74 years ago.
Most of the Pearl Harbor survivors were in their late teens or early ‘20s when their world was turned upside down. They went on to fight and win in the Pacific War.
To these veterans we owe the biggest thanks of all.
Thank you for preserving our freedom and for taking us on the pathway to reconciliation and peace.
We are forever in your debt.