Veterans organizations from throughout the Lower Valley gathered Friday at Veterans Park in Ansonia to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
Three local mayors—James Della Volpe of Ansonia, Anthony Staffieri of Derby and Mark Lauretti of Shelton—joined the observance, and Della Volpe read a proclamation naming it Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
The Master of Ceremony, Peter J. Danielczuk, reminded the people gathered in the park next to Ansonia City Hall that they were there to remember the 71st anniversary of “the Day the Japanese Empire attacked the United States of America. The day that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said would ‘live in infamy.’”
The attack occurred on a Sunday morning at 7:55 a.m. when dive bombers and torpedo bombers launched from Japanese aircraft carriers struck ships of the U.S. Navy Pacific fleet anchored in the harbor and the barracks and hangars at the U.S. Army’s Hickam Field air base nearby.
The attack cost 2,403 American lives.
Japanese diplomats in Washington, D.C. failed to deliver their country’s declaration of war until after the attack had begun, so Americans justifiably considered it a dishonorable sneak attack, which led to Roosevelt’s “a day that will live in infamy” description on Dec. 8 when he asked a joint session of Congress for a declaration of war.
During his invocation in Ansonia, Deacon Jack Brady of Assumption Church asked God to “teach all people the ways of peace so that those who gave so much for the sake of peace and freedom shall not have died in vain.”
VFW Post 597 Commander Patrick Freeman, the guest speaker, noted that those who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor didn’t ask “what’s in it for me.” He urged those in attendance to dedicate an act of kindness for someone to the memory of those who died.
The people at the ceremony recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the “Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.” Then a firing squad from the St. Peter & St. Paul Catholic War Veterans fired a rifle salute, and World War II Navy veteran Daniel Waleski played “Taps” on his bugle.