Grand Rapids Home for Veterans holds Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary service

Dec 7, 2016

USS Arizona
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday marked the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. For more than a quarter of a century the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans has held a service remembering the men and women who lost their lives, and how the attack changed a nation and the world.

Speaker at podium, “December 7th, 1941 became a date in infamy.”

“Today’s event is kind of unique, this is the 27th year that we’ve done this, that I’ve coordinated it, but it’s the 75th anniversary…and with that distance the true impact of it gets lost. So this is an opportunity to stop that loss and really to be alert and aware because as many of these fellas used to say, ‘Don’t forget.’”

That’s Bill Campbell is a veterans advocate who coordinates the Pearl Harbor service inside the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans chapel.

“I would say we probably had about 30 people here…So many of the folks that would have been Pearl Harbor survivors, that would have been with me in previous years, they’ve passed. The one Pearl Harbor survivor that we have locally is at Pearl Harbor this year.”

Speaker at podium, “But consider this, 77 of the Americans serving at Pearl Harbor that Sunday were brothers.”

“For me it’s a great privilege to do this.”

That’s Dick Harms. He’s the archivist at Calvin College and today’s speaker.

Speaker at podium, “Of those 77, 62 were killed.”

“The events at Pearl Harbor, they were so significant, so fundamental. And then the sacrifice, 2,400 lives were lost. These are people who gave, for instance, us the ability to vote. We just had an election, it was a very acrimonious election, but imagine there are many people in the world who can’t even do that. But we can do these things and it was because of people like this that we can do it and so we’re called, we’re obligated to remember the sacrifice of these people, the events that changed the world so fundamentally.”

Speaker at podium, “The infamy of that Sunday, December 7th may not be as stark today as it was 75 years ago, but the impacts are. We are here to carry that memory, the lessons and the results of that forward. This is our ongoing obligation, we can do no less.”

Patrick Center, WGVU News.