On the morning of December 7, 1st Sergeant Ray Manual and Post Commander Dr. Gerald Thompson participated in the “Wreathes Across America” sponsored by the Department of Delaware VFW and Ladies Auxiliary. The Honor Guard posted a wreath on the flag pole at the Veteran’s Home Post 6483 and on the bridge of the Riverwalk in downtown Milford. Blue Hen Post Senior Vice Commander Richard Peterson, from the Post Honor Guard, honored those who had endured The Attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941.
That evening back at the VFW Post, Post Commander Gerald Thompson offered a Remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day. Dr. Thompson reflected on the newspapers and magazines he found that recorded the event through numerous personal accounts, historical details and emotional pictures.
“Don’t expect the veteran to stop at the somber and emotional pictures, and sad memories,” commented Thompson. “The veteran is not allowed these sentiments.”
Dr. Thompson went on to tell a story about Admiral Nimitz who was giving a boat tour of the destruction at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Day just eighteen days after the infamous attack. While touring the scene of the wreckage left behind by the Japanese, Admiral Nimitz was asked a simple question by a young helmsman. He asked the admiral what he thought after seeing all this destruction. Surprising to the helmsman, Nimitz responded that the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes ever made by an attack force.
Nimitz explained that the Japanese attacked on a Sunday morning when 9 out of 10 men were ashore on leave, they did not attack the dry docks delaying the United States repair of the battleships and they did not attack the fuel supply which was located nearby. It was these flaws made by the Japanese that helped the United States repair its naval fleet quickly and begin the Pacific Theatre of WWII and ultimately the victory for the allied forces.
“Just like Admiral Nimitz found the positive in such destruction we must remember what each veteran has given to us,” commented Dr. Thompson.
Dr. Thompson’s message was a remembrance of the liberties that the veteran has provided in addition to his service and sacrifice. The veteran’s ability to see victory in the face of complete destruction and defeat is how each of us should view our surrounding world. It is the confidence and fortitude of the soldier that must be remembered.