MASON/MIDDLEPORT — They vow to never forget, even though there are few present to witness the solemn scene.
Year after year, sometimes in the bitter cold, members of the Stewart-Johnson V.F.W. Post 9926 of Mason, Smith-Capehart American Legion Post 140 of New Haven, and Drew Webster American Legion Post 39 of Pomeroy trek to the river for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
It is the same tradition for Feeney Bennett American Legion Post 128 of Middleport, as legion members gather each year at 8 a.m. on Dec. 7 at the Middleport Levee for a remembrance ceremony.
Thursday was no different as the members gathered at the levees in Mason and Middleport to place a wreath into the Ohio River as a tribute to those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The Japanese attacked the U.S. Naval base in Hawaii at around 7:55 a.m., propelling the United States into World War II.
More than 2,400 Americans were killed at Pearl Harbor, and another 1,000 wounded. When attacks on Pearl Harbor and other military bases were over, more than 300 aircraft were damaged or destroyed, and 21 ships were sunk or damaged.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war the following day. The president gave an address declaring Dec. 7 as “a date which will live in infamy.”
Milford Mowrey said he was only 16 years old when he heard of the attack. Mowrey went on to serve in World War II.
He was chosen as the veteran to toss the ceremonial wreath into the water this year. Mowrey is a member and past commander of V.F.W. Post 9926. Assisting Mowrey at the river was John Hood of Post 39.
Roger Alkire read a prayer during the ceremony, which also included the playing of “Taps,” a gun salute, and presentation of the flags by the organizations’ honor guards.
In Middleport, Jim Bradbury read a prayer before placing the wreath in to the river.
After the wreath was placed, Post 128 members conducted a gun salute, followed by the playing of Taps.
Sentinel managing editor Sarah Hawley contributed to this report.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.