On Friday, December 7, more than 100 elected officials, community members, and students gathered in the Tesoro Viejo Town Center to honor those who served with courage and valor and lost their lives in the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor 77 years ago.
The Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day was presented by Tesoro Viejo, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1981, and the American Legion Post 11 to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. On Sunday, December 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attached on Pearl Harbor, a United States naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii. The devastating attack resulted in the death of more than 2,400 Americans.
Tesoro Viejo CEO Robert McCaffrey welcomed the audience to the solemn, special day and held up the Dec. 8, 1941 issue of the Honolulu Star with the headline: “War! Oahu Bombed by Japanese Planes.” The ceremony commenced with the posting of the colors by VFW Post 1981, an invocation, the “National Anthem,” and the singing of “God Bless America.”
The keynote speaker was Sally Orme Moreno, Madera County District Attorney-Elect who spoke about the importance of honoring the lives of those who served. With students from the new Hillside Elementary School in Tesoro Viejo and students from Minarets High School present, she encouraged them to get involved with their community, engage in important issues, and be a participant in civic matters.
“Those who served are a microcosm about everything that is great about America,” Moreno said. “We honor them by preserving the nation they fought for.”
Mike DeCesare, a World War II Veteran and member of the VFW Post 1981, also spoke about the ultimate sacrifice that so many paid. He shared the story of Jack Cremean, a United States Marine who was serving on the U.S.S. Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Cremean’s remains were recently identified by DNA and 77 years later, he would be finally laid to rest in Madera later that day.
The audience was led in the singing of “Amazing Grace,” followed by the Eight Bells Ceremony, a Navy tradition to honor those who serve. The VFW Post 1981 Rifle Squad fired their arms to salute the fallen comrades and the ceremony concluded with the solemn performance of “Taps.”