EVERETT — Naval Station Everett paid tribute to veterans of World War II and survivors of Pearl Harbor Monday in a solemn ceremony.
Ten World War II veterans, some in veteran service caps and several with canes, sat at the front of the ballroom as Cmdr. Rodman Burley, the base’s executive officer, read out their names.
Shortly afterward, Chief Petty Officer Rachel Galvin read the names of invited vets of that era who were unable to attend.
There were more than twice as many absent as those present, the reality of a generation of service members that shrinks with each passing year.
“Today we remember all those who paid the ultimate price that sunny morning 74 years ago,” said Capt. Mark Lakamp, commanding officer of Naval Station Everett.
The occasion is also to remember and thank all veterans of World War II, Lakamp said, and to listen to their stories, however painful they might still be.
“It reminds Americans today what we can accomplish in our darkest hour,” he said.
Two veterans of the war spoke about their experiences before, during and after the war.
Norman Goldstein, of Edmonds, enlisted in the Navy with a friend shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“We both put down we’d like to be torpedo men. Why, I don’t know,” Goldstein said.
He graduated in the top 10 of his class at torpedo school, and he eventually was sent to Guam, the site of fierce fighting in 1944 when the U.S. retook the island from the Japanese at a cost of 3,000 U.S. lives.
“I’m not going to talk about that,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein eventually was discharged after the war and became a high school chemistry and physical education teacher at Ballard High School and later was vice principal at Mountlake Terrace High.
Clyde Fields was a senior at Snohomish High School when Pearl Harbor was attacked.
He was eventually drafted into the Army and was shipped to the United Kingdom on the repurposed RMS Queen Mary ocean liner.
He joined the 398th Engineering Regiment there, which built a camp in Devonshire for Allied forces before the invasion of Normandy. After D-Day, his unit rebuilt the harbor at Cherbourg. He convoyed through liberated Paris and spent the winter of 1944 shipping ammunition, fuel and supplies north to the forested Ardennes region during the Battle of the Bulge. He survived fire from German artillery and dive bombers. “The cold is the thing I remember the most of that whole escapade,” Fields said.
When the war ended, Fields returned to Washington state via train, crossing the Cascades just as the sun rose on his 21st birthday.
“That was the greatest birthday present I’ve had,” he said.
The ceremony concluded with a presentation of a wreath and Galvin reading out the names of those both present and not.
All the uniformed sailors in the room rose to salute the veterans. And all 10 of the veterans rose — some more slowly than others — to return the honor.