Honoring Pearl Harbor veterans

Crowd honors surviving veterans from the Japanese attack that finally drew America into World War II

By Sharon Salyer

Herald Writer

They rolled out the red carpet as 17 area Pearl Harbor survivors marched in single file into the Everett High School gym Sunday. The crowd rose to its feet and responded with tears and applause.

Related story:

Faces of Pearl Harbor

During an event held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, many found lessons and solace for a nation dealing with the aftermath of Sept. 11 and yet another surprise attack.

Both events shocked the nation "and changed the course of our history," said U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash.

After experiencing the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, a younger generation now has a better understanding of the sacrifices made by those who fought in World War II, he said.

"You heroes of yesterday are an inspiration for all of us today," Larsen said. "Now we turn to your generation for guidance."

Lt. Cdr. Michael Colson, a chaplain at Naval Station Everett, gazed down the line of 17 Pearl Harbor survivors seated along the side of the gym, with the flags of all 50 states as a backdrop.

"You went right into hell’s teeth," Colson said.

Freedom is "bought with a price," he added. For those under age 35 "it’s your time, your opportunity, to step up."

Although 60 years separated both surprise attacks, Rear Adm. Vinson E. Smith said that America shared the same feelings prior to each. "What should our role in the world be?"

The war provided mission, purpose and resolve. "After Dec. 7," he said, "we said never again will be caught in a situation where we are totally surprised."

Nevertheless, prior to this year’s terrorist attacks, "we were drifting," he said, again questioning America’s role in the international arena.

The nation has answered with the values that served it so well at the time of Pearl Harbor, when "honor, courage and commitment were alive," he said.

Local survivors

Local Pearl Harbor survivors honored at Sunday’s service were:

Donald Lawson, Lynnwood

William Lew, Charles Kowalski and Herb Dake, Edmonds

Harry Earl Gorne, Brier

Paul Everton, Raymond Wans and Larry Crowley, Everett

Walt Bailey, Marysville

Tom Smith, Arlington

Wade Hawkins, Kirkland

Robert Sellers, Robert O’Hara, Raoul Lanning and Bob Vehse, Seattle

Al Wedell, Renton

George Lundquist, Bonney Lake

Source: US Navy

One of the Pearl Harbor survivors, George Lundquist, said that even though he was an eyewitness to the Pearl Harbor attack, there was a feeling of unreality and disbelief that he imagined was shared by the people of New York City during the Sept. 11 attack.

Judy Morrison of Everett said she attended the remembrance day program in honor of her late father and Pearl Harbor survivor Hamelton W. Jarvis.

Despite the echoes of history caused by the Sept. 11 attack, her purpose for coming was solely to honor "these men who served our county."

Julie Reis, who sat beside Morrison, said she was about 6 years old at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. She recalled living in a house with no electricity or running water and trading gas coupons for sugar because they didn’t have a car.

"We have so much respect for anyone" who served in the war, she said. "I’m glad I’m alive to see this."

You can call Herald Writer Sharon Salyer at 425-339-3486

or send e-mail to salyer@heraldnet.com.

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