Lo­cal vet­er­ans fear Pearl Har­bor is be­ing for­got­ten

The Citizens' Voice - - FRONT PAGE - BY JACK SMILES cor­re­spon­dent

Ed­die Zielin­ski, 88, has a spe­cial rea­son to re­mem­ber the at­tack on Pearl Har­bor on Dec. 7, 1941.

It hap­pened on his 11th birth­day, and he re­calls hear­ing about it on the ra­dio.

John Phillips, 89, re­mem­bers, too. He was a com­ing out of a the­ater when he heard adults talk­ing about it.

He re­mem­bers say­ing to him­self, “What is Pearl Har­bor? Is it a woman, a place?”

On Fri­day morn­ing, Phillips, the Chap­lin of AMVETS Post 189, in his talk at the Pearl Har­bor Com­mem­o­ra­tion cer­e­mony at Dupont VFW Post 4909, lamented young peo­ple to­day don’t know what Pearl Har­bor is, ei­ther.

The VFW and the AMVETS posts or­ga­nize the cer­e­mony in al­ter­nate years. Fri­day was the AMVETS’ turn.

In his re­marks, Phillips, a Korean War Army medic vet­eran, looked at the group at­tend­ing and said, “Most peo­ple prob­a­bly don’t even re­al­ize what to­day is. Where is the pub­lic? Where is the recognition of this day? A day we cried. It’s a shame that so many peo­ple for­got so many peo­ple. Our hearts are heavy.”

Zielin­ski was part of the honor guard that pre­sented the col­ors and fired the ri­fle salute.

Zielin­ski served in the Navy in Ja­pan in 1949 dur­ing the oc­cu­pa­tion and in Korea on the Heavy Cruiser He­lena dur­ing the bom­bard­ment prior to the am­phibi­ous in­va­sion of In­chon, a turn­ing point in the war.

“It’s al­ways good to re­mem­ber Pearl Har­bor. It pro­voked the war,” Zielin­ski said.

Bernie Mcdon­ald, an Army vet­eran and com­man­der of the AMVETS, was mas­ter of cer­e­monies.

He said he learned it was im­por­tant to re­mem­ber Pearl Har­bor, World War II and all vet­er­ans from his grand­par­ents. “They said, ‘don’t just say you are a vet, be a vet.’”

Sal Alaimo was also part of the honor guard.

At 91, he is one of the youngest World War II, vet­er­ans hav­ing been 17 when he en­listed in the Marines in 1945.

That il­lus­trates why only five vet­er­ans na­tion­wide who were at pearl Har­bor on Dec. 7, 1941 are still alive.

Alaimo also served in Korea with the 6th Marines in­fantry.

The cer­e­mony ended with a ri­fle salute and taps on the street out­side the post.

Ar­lene Skrysowski of the AMETS aux­il­iary led singing of the na­tional an­them.

Elaine Healey and Peggy Best of the VFW aux­il­iary joined her in lead­ing the singing of “God Bless Amer­ica.”

The cer­e­mony was backed by a room length mu­ral of a Pa­cific beach as­sault.

War­ren ruda / staff Pho­tog­ra­pher

Tom Skrzysowski plays taps dur­ing Fri­day’s cer­e­mony at the Dupont VFW Post 4909.

War­ren ruda / staff Pho­tog­ra­pher

Ed­die Zielin­ski pre­pares to fire a M1 Garand dur­ing Pearl Har­bor Com­mem­o­ra­tion cer­e­mony held at the Dupont VFW on Fri­day. Zielin­ski, 88, turned 11 on the day of the at­tack on Pearl Har­bor and re­mem­bers hear­ing the news on the ra­dio.

War­ren ruda / STAFF Pho­tog­ra­pher

Tom Bu­fano takes aim as he and fel­low honor guard mem­bers pre­pare to fire a salute dur­ing Fri­day’s cer­e­mony.

War­ren ruda / STAFF Pho­tog­ra­pher

Dupont VFW Aux­il­iary mem­bers Peggy Best, Len Yashin­ski and Ar­lene Skrzysowski sing ‘God Bless Amer­ica’ dur­ing the cer­e­mony.

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