COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — In memory of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, American Legion Post 35 held an event Wednesday morning at its center on North Lumpkin Road.
Commander Dea Morrow of Post 35 welcomed everyone and recognized important people in the audience. They were Columbus City Councilman John House and his wife; the national Sons of the American Legion Chaplain from Alabama, Jeff Gibson; members of American Legion Post 135 from Phenix City; and members of Marine Corps League Detachment 1402.
Retired Lt. Col. Sam Nelson, the chaplain at Post 35, said the point of remembering the Pearl Harbor attack every year is so something like it won’t happen again.
Gibson led everyone in the invocation, Post 35 member Juanita Upshaw Taylor led the Pledge of Allegiance and Post 35 Adjutant Donna Doughty sang the national anthem.
Attendees were shown videos of Hawaiian dancers and the destruction from the Pearl Harbor attack.
“The purpose of the Hawaiian dancers is we wanted to establish or everybody what the situation was the morning of Dec. 7,” Nelson said. “We were at peace.”
He said the damage to Pearl Harbor was “horrendous.” He said there were so many causalities that medical professionals had trouble triaging victims.
Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson read out loud former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Day of Infamy” speech. Doughty sang, “God Bless America.” Morrow read the poem, “December Seventh,” by Cornelius Douglas.
Gibson led the benediction. But before he did, he shared a message with the audience.
“Do me one favor right now,” he said. “Hug three people, and let me tell you why. We know back then it was war, shell shock, now there’s PTSD. During the holiday season, so many people have lost loved ones. So many veterans have gone through the trials and tribulations and the memories of the war.”
Gibson instructed audience members to call people. He said calling someone in distress could prevent their suicide.
“So please, hug three people,” he said. “Let them know you love them.”
Gibson said it isn’t shameful to ask for help.
“A lot of time, as veterans, we don’t trust nobody,” he said. “We feel as though we tell our story, people might look at us differently.”
He said to also keep police officers and firefighters in mind.