Local vets remember Pearl Harbor Day

Charles McDougall plays taps at the ceremony.
Photo by Patrick Rocchio

Veterans from three local American Legion posts came together last week to remember that day that lives “in infamy.”

Members of the Throggs Neck Memorial Post #1456, Theodore Korony Post #253, and Silver Beach Post #1371 were on hand to lay a wreath at the war memorial in Bicentennial Veterans Memorial Park in Throggs Neck on the 71st anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack on Friday, Dec. 7.

Among them were World War II veteran John Byrne of Silver Beach, who served in the 748th Tank Battalion in General George Patton’s Third Army. He was reticent about his service, but did offer up something he took from the war.

“It impressed upon me the need to be a better American,” said Bryne, adding that he is glad to be alive.

Byrne was drafted in 1943 when he was 18 years old, and went overseas within two months, he said.

The Bronx event marked a local remembrance of that “Day in Infamy” at the U.S. Navy base in Hawaii where 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded during a sneak attack by Japanese on December 7, 1941, bringing the United States into World War II.

“The primary reason that we are out here today is to honor our brothers and sisters who died in that attack, and who are sitting at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, here 71 years later,” said Ritchie Ardisson, a Navy vet who played taps at the ceremony. “They are still sleeping in the bottom of those ships.”

Pat Devine, past commander of the Korony post, read a statement from the American Legion before the wreath was placed over the stone memorial, lauding the men and women who perished in the attack.

He reminded those present that it was our duty to “help young Americans understand the terrific price we paid for lack of vigilance.”

Devine also likened the Pearl Harbor attack to September 11th, a comparison many others have made because of the unexpected nature of the attacks.

“We should remember not take for granted our liberties because of the sneak attack that happened in 1941, but also for the one on September 11, 2001,” said Devine. “We had our guard down and it can happen again. We have got to have vigilance, keep alert, and not take anything for granted.”

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

Saluting the flag at the wreath placement during the playing of taps are veterans (l-r) George Achambult, Pat Devine, John Byrne, Charles McDougall, and Ritchie Ardisson.
Photo by Patrick Rocchio

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