Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony held in Clovis

Tiffany Olin Image
Friday, December 8, 2023
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony held in Clovis
The annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony was held Thursday morning at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- The annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony was held Thursday morning at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.

December 7th, 1941, is a day that lives in infamy for many.

It was the day Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor.

The two-hour raid took place on the U-S Naval base in Hawaii 82 years ago.

"8:10 am, the USS Arizona sinks with 1,177 men still on board, accounting for half of the fateful deaths that day," CEO of Clovis Veterans Memorial District, Lorenzo Rios, said.

The sneak attack killed 2,403 U.S. service members and civilians-shaking America's confidence and pulling the country into World War Two.

John Cline is the son-in-law of a Pearl Harbor survivor and recounted one of his stories.

"After the bombing ended and the rescue efforts started, the trapped men were tapping out Morse code messages telling where they were trapped, how many were injured and so on in hopes of being rescued," Cline explained. "The tapping got less and less every day until finally it went silent."

December 7th now serves as a day to remember and honor those lives lost.

On Tuesday, the Clovis Veterans Memorial District held a ceremony to recognize local Pearl Harbor survivors.

Paul Loeffler-host of Hometown Heroes Radio- shared the story of Pearl Harbor survivor Chuck Keene, who was on the USS Honolulu that day in 1941.

"'Our fleet was destroyed, and so was my innocence,'" Loeffler quoted Keene. "'The first day of the war was the worst day of my life.'"

It took weeks for many sailors' families to find out if their loved ones survived.

WW2 veteran Clarence Suzuki was a civilian living in Oahu during the attack.

"We just had to stay indoors," Suzuki said. "Instructions were coming over the radio to make a bomb shelter."

Suzuki now lives in the Central Valley and is one of two known survivors here.

The other-- Bill Pratt. He was on the USS Nevada as the ship was under attack.

"I thought the end had come," Pratt recalled. "You're sitting there in the darkness by yourself. I really thought it was over."

Pratt will celebrate his 102nd birthday in the coming weeks.

He and other survivors who live on have stories to tell, and Thursday's national day of remembrance helps share those with our community and nation.

Thursday's ceremony reminded everyone to ask veterans questions, hear their stories and continue to share them so that no one ever forgets.

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