Vietnam War veteran and member of multiple veteran’s organization Rich Litwin raises the American Flag Monday morning at a Pearl Harbor ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park in Old Orchard Beach.

Vietnam War veteran and member of multiple veteran’s organization Rich Litwin raises the American Flag Monday morning at a Pearl Harbor ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park in Old Orchard Beach.

OLD ORCHARD BEACH — About a dozen people gathered at Veterans Memorial Park this morning to commemorate Pearl Harbor Day during a brief flag-raising ceremony.

The ceremony was a way to “take pause to reflect and honor” those who served our county and those who died serving our country “in defense of our freedom, liberties and way of life that we are fortunate to have in our great country,” said Dennis Robillard, a Flag Raising Ceremony Committee member who led the service.

The ceremony was held at 7:48 a.m., the time on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The Pearl Harbor day attacks killed more than 2,300 Americans, according to information on The Library of Congress website. The USS Arizona was destroyed and the USS Oklahoma capsized.

According to the Library of Congress, 12 ships sank or were beached in the attack and nine additional vessels were damaged. More than 160 aircraft were destroyed and more than 150 others damaged, according to the Library of Congress.

President Franklin Roosevelt called the Dec. 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy.”

The United States declared war on Japan on Dec. 8, 1941, and Germany and Italy in turn declared war on the United States on Dec. 11. The United States then declared war on the two countries allied with Japan.

Gov. Paul LePage signed a proclamation honoring those who died as result of their service at Pearl Harbor, and has asked that flags be lowered today to commemorate National Pearl Harbor Day, according to a press release.

“Pearl Harbor Day is one of the significant anniversaries of World War II, which reminds us of the great sacrifices our military men and women bear to defend and protect our freedoms,” said LePage in a written statement. “We are a brave and resilient nation because of these heroes, and no amount of thank yous are enough to honor the men and women, past and present, who have given so much for our way of life.”

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext.325 or [email protected]


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