GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - On December 7th, 77 years ago, the United States was thrust into World War II after Japan launched its surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
Friday ceremonies across the country were held to remember the lives of service men and women lost. Grand Rapids is no exception. Veterans and families gathered at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans Chapel to pay their respects for service men and women lost.
The ceremony is one that Bill Campbell has been putting on for 29 years.
“There was a time when everybody remembered Pearl Harbor," Bill tells FOX 17. "Things start to fade away. Things are good, people are successful, they’re happy and safe, and so the remembering is not as crucial to them as it was.”
Bill’s right. We lose survivors of Pearl Harbor and World War II every year. Even digital calendars are starting to forget such an important sacrifice made by thousands that day.
Bill says, “There are many that don’t even mention it, so if a person doesn’t have a visual reminder of that, they don’t have anyone who was involved in World War I, or World War II, then it just doesn’t come up. It’s not a concern.”
The lack of remembrance of the surprise attack has veterans and family members changing their slogan. Now instead of saying “Remember Pearl Harbor,” they say “Remember to Remember.”
The daughter of a Pearl Harbor Veteran, Jill Racia, is one of the individuals fighting to keep the memory of the fallen alive.
Racia says, “They fought so hard, and it’s such a historical moment, and it effects the whole country, it effects everything. We can’t forget how hard they worked for us and what they gave up and how many lives were lost, it’s just so important.”
So on December 7th we gather, and we remember, because as a community we refuse to forget the 2,403 American lives lost 77 years ago.