American Legion to host wreath-laying ceremony marking 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack

The battleship USS Arizona sinking after being hit by Japanese air attack on Dec. 7, 1941 | Public domain photo from National Archives, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — To recognize those who perished in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, American Legion Post 90 will host a mostly silent wreath-laying ceremony at St. George’s Tonaquint Cemetery on Tuesday at 10:48 a.m. — the exact time of the attack 80 years ago. The public is invited to attend and witness the ceremony.

“Only a tiny percentage of people alive today are old enough to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor and the American involvement in World War II that followed,” Marti Bigbie, commander of American Legion Post 90 in St. George, said in a press release for the event. “That means it is even more important now to recall the great sacrifice that was made eight decades ago.”

Described by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as “a date which will live in infamy,” Japan’s attack of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, plunged America into World War II. The losses were devastating. It was a tragedy that left 2,403 killed and 1,178 wounded, along with four American battleships sunk and nearly 350 aircraft damaged or destroyed.

Those who fought back demonstrated the resolve and character that would come to embody U.S. service members of the Greatest Generation. Fifteen Medals of Honor were awarded, as well as 51 Navy Crosses and 53 Silver Stars.

The ensuing war saw battles fought in far-flung places, unheard of by many Americans, while the fate of the free world hung in the balance.

2019 file photo from Pearl Harbor event, St. George, Utah, Dec. 7, 2019 | Photo courtesy of city of St. George, St. George News

From the fetid jungles of Guadalcanal and New Guinea to the mud and mountains of Italy, the palm-tree laden nightmare of Tarawa, to the beaches of Normandy and sulfuric sands of Iwo Jima, allied forces actively fought for 44 months before securing the unconditional surrenders of the Axis forces, Germany and Japan.

While there are no known Pearl Harbor survivors living in St. George, veterans from five different branches of military service from throughout the community will participate in the wreath-laying ceremony. For more information on American Legion Post 90, visit their website.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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