Those killed in attack on Pearl Harbor are remembered

Hannah Swayze • Updated Dec 3, 2017 at 7:06 PM

For the sixth consecutive year, a group gathered among the artifacts of military history in the museum at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home to mark the anniversary of the event that would plunge the United States into World War II.

The Tri-Cities Military Affairs Council held its annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony Sunday afternoon to remember those from the area who died during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Most people think of the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor as occurring on Dec. 7, 1941. What is also true is that this day was on the first Sunday in December, which is why the local ceremony is always held on the first Sunday.

"The day is the first Sunday of December. The first Sunday of December they were fighting for their lives, their communities, their nation," Allen Jackson, the council's historian, said.

According to group President Ernie Rumsby, the Tri-Cities Military Affairs Council is the only group in the region that conducts a Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony.

"We shouldn’t forget," Rumsby said. "We do still have some folks alive. Those that have gone on should not be forgotten. It's our duty."

The ceremony began with an invocation from Billy Ferguson, a World War II veteran, and was followed by the presentation of colors by Unicoi County High School's Air Force JROTC.

The ceremony also included a video featuring the emotional testimony from a Navy veteran who was at Pearl Harbor during the attack.

The group heard a short speech from guest speaker Lt. Col. Jack Rickman of the Air Force, who also is a teacher at Unicoi County High School. Rickman spoke of his time in the Air Force and the history of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Last, Jackson took the podium after a few words, and commenced with a roll call, naming each veteran who perished that day. With each name, a candle was lit and a bell rung in their memory.

According to Rickman, 2,403 United States citizens were killed in the surprise attack 76 years ago. On Sunday, their names were remembered.

"It is said that a military member dies twice," Jackson said. "The first time is the physical death. The second time is when their name is last spoken and has been forgotten. Today, we are here to assure that they do not have that second death and they are remembered and they live on."

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