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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA remembers those fallen 74 years ago

On Sunday morning, from the lower level of the Student Union Memorial Center, a memorial was held to honor the men who lost their lives aboard the USS Arizona. Today marks 74 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

With many in attendance, including current members of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, the ceremony began with comments from Bill Westcott.

Westcott, the project organizer for the memorial that will be placed on the UA Mall, began by honoring the veterans who served at Pearl Harbor.

“The attack turned out to be a surprise, I’d like to emphasize that word surprise, and I’d like to emphasize it again,” Westcott said. “You have to always be prepared, but there are times when it is impossible to prepare and action must be taken.”

Westcott praised the heroism of those who made tremendous sacrifices at Pearl Harbor and asked those in attendance to think of the importance of honoring their memory.

“I believe we have to try and help America remember, and I want to thank those survivors and those who kept this alive,” Westcott said. “I stand before you today and say that we must never stop, and we must remember.”

Westcott then unveiled the plans for a memorial on the Mall of the USS Arizona. He described a memorial in the shape of the falllen ship, with 1,177 medallions marking the name of the men lost aboard the ship.

“Each student will have the ability to see the dates 1923-1941 and look at the medallion of someone 17 or 18 years old who lost their life at Pearl Harbor,” Westcott said.

After Westcott, Marine Col. Patrick Wall, spoke to the audience on the legacy left by the men of Pearl Harbor.

“It is important for those of us who were not there, to know the stories of those that were there,” Wall said.

Wall spoke about the way in which Pearl Harbor and the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 have been seared into the minds of Americans. He described the way in which the Pearl Harbor attack in particular demonstrated the resilience of America, and the lasting legacy it left across the world.

“In a war that was so terrible, America was able to bring democracy to the world and unique to America, the enemy that was so visceral we became allies and friends with,” Wall said.

Lauren Bruner, a Pearl Harbor survivor, concluded the ceremony with the ringing of the SUMC tower bell to honor the survivors of the attack who have passed away in the last year.

This ceremony honored the legacy of all Pearl Harbor veterans, and also embraced the role of Arizona in remembering those who lost their lives aboard the USS Arizona while defending their nation.

“For America, we move on,” Wall said. “And as a nation, we owe a great deal to these men, and never forget the impact of [Dec.] 7 and its impact on the war and on this nation.”

Follow Sebastian Laguna on Twitter.

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