PORT JERVIS—It was a warm and sunny Saturday when some 15 people, mostly veterans, gathered on the Mid-Delaware Bridge to recognize a dark spot in American history—Pearl Harbor Day.
“Dec. 7, 1941—that date which will live in infamy—the United States of American was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the empire of Japan,” quoted Tri-State Naval Ship VFW Post 7241 Captain Roger Fuller from a broadcast of former president Franklin D. Roosevelt.
A naval base in Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii was attacked in the early morning of Dec. 7, destroying nearly 20 naval vessels and over 200 aircraft. More than 2,000 American soldiers died in the attack and more than 1,000 were injured.
Navy Chaplain and WWII vet, Vincent Livingston, was one of the few if not the only person at the ceremony who remembered when it happened.
“I was shocked,” he recalled.
Shortly after the attacks the United States declared war on Japan, then Germany and Italy, marking the beginning of the United States’ entrance into World War II.
Livingston remembers leaving school at 17 to join the army. After being deployed to China, he left the army as a petty officer third class and came back to Port Jervis where he has lived ever since.
“This beautiful river, the Delaware, which runs to the sea and mingles with the oceans of the world, is a fitting location for our services to commemorate that day, and the ensuing days, when young men and women left their homes in cities, hamlets, and farms throughout this great nation to fight and die in places with exotic and foreign names,” Fuller said.
After a prayer and a salute, a wreath was thrown into the Delaware River in tribute to those who fell on Dec. 7, 74 years ago.
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