77th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack Remembered in Buchanan

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Local officials were joined by area veterans Friday at Buchanan Village Hall to remember the savage attack on Pearl Harbor.

During the hour-long ceremony, the roughly 40 veterans and community members in attendance commemorated the 77th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that claimed the lives of more than 2,400 Americans and launched the country into World War II.

Peekskill American Legion post commander John Donohue said he was just nine years old when the attack occurred.

“The first word came out about Pearl Harbor in the late afternoon on December 7, and I can tell you there was shock by everybody,” Donohue said.

Buchanan village historical consultant George Boyle recounted the infamous attack that occurred on December 7, 1941. He said it was a warm and sunny Hawaiian morning when Japanese warplanes destroyed and damaged more than a dozen ships and hundreds of aircraft. He noted that for the first time in more than seven decades, no survivor from the USS Arizona was present at Pearl Harbor’s annual memorial service.

Of the more than 1,500 on board the USS Arizona, roughly 300 survived, with the ship remaining at the bottom of the harbor with the remains of its victims.

“We are here today to honor those men and women, military and civilian, on one of the darkest days in American history,” Boyle said. “The strike climaxed a long feud that continued to worsen relations between the United States and Japan.”

Boyle added that more than 250 servicemen and four women from Buchanan served during World War II, with the war claiming nine lives.

“It’s because of the sacrifices that were made by members of our military and their families that we have our freedoms that we enjoy today,” Peekskill Councilman Colin Smith said. “We can’t celebrate that enough and we can never forget that sacrifice as we move forward.”

Buchanan Trustee Duane Jackson shared his gratitude for every servicemember, stating that freedom has never been free, and it has been the job of the military to ensure its protection. Croton Mayor Brian Pugh also shared his admiration for those who continue to join the military and serve.

“Freedom has never been free, from the time of George Washington fighting the greatest empire in the world, it was our testament and our will to be free,” Jackson said. “Whether it was George Washington then or our brave troops on the line now, those men and women in uniform have always been the forefront of who we are, and I am so proud to have been part of that in my service.”

Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi shared that her late father served at Pearl Harbor two months after the attack. While he didn’t talk about his experience, she said he would share stories of being afraid the island would be attacked again.

“It’s so very important to have these ceremonies and never to forget the heroes that perished 77 years ago,” Puglisi said. “We have to educate our children and our grandchildren, so they carry on these traditions of having these ceremonies and reminding them of what people have done before us to make sure and ensure that we have the freedoms to live in the greatest country on earth.”

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