HONOLULU, HI -- This devastating attack took the lives of more than 2,400 service members, including 73 U.S. Marines.
A ceremony was held to rededicate the Marine Memorial at the USS ARIZONA Education Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, Aug. 19, 2016. The memorial expresses the nation’s appreciation for these American heroes.
Families, friends and military service members came to Pearl Harbor to view the bronze plaques commemorating the 73 valiant U.S. Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice and their 15 brothers who survived the attack on the battleship USS ARIZONA.
“As Marines, we consider it our sacred duty to honor those who fought and sacrificed so much here, to always remember their deeds, and to never let their sacrifices be in vain,” said Lt. Gen. John A. Toolan, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.
For some members of the audience, this was their first experience witnessing the Marine Corps’ dignified ceremonial proceedings.
“It’s nice to see how the Marine Corps upholds their traditions first hand,” said Angelika Khan, a native of Germany, whose son is enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps. “To have General Toolan come down here to speak about these Marines was truly an honor and something I will never forget, especially now knowing what kind of institution my son is getting into.”
Memorials, like the one rededicated to the USS ARIZONA Marines, pique visitors' curiosity.
“Anytime there is something new, people gravitate to it, but it will always be here,” said Stanley Mertes II, a photographer for the Pacific Aviation Museum. “Now there is something they will see and they will take pictures to research it, only later to learn about the history of these Marines.”
As the bugler plays Taps, hushing the audience and even the passers-by, this event illustrates the Marine Corps tradition of holding the highest regard for the fallen with a poignant remembrance ceremony.
“So why is it that we still hold these ceremonies?” Toolan asked the audience. “There are several reasons: even though 15 of the men whose names are inscribed on the Remembrance survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, none are still alive today, so there is no one left to tell their story – no one but us, and this marker will help us in telling that story for many, many years to come.”