This Is Home: Remembering Pearl Harbor

Local veterans honor the lives lost 81 years ago
WTAP News @ 6
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 6:10 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn


For the past 28 years, Wednesday December 7th has been recognized as National Pearl Harbor Day. It’s a day to remember and honor the over 2,400 Americans killed on that day over 81 years ago in the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii leading to the United States entering into WWII.

There were 2 ceremonies where veterans and community members gathered and placed wreaths in the river to commemorate the water deaths that occurred 81 years ago.

Veterans at both ceremonies reflected on what the day of remembrance and ceremonies mean to them.

Darin Shrewsberry, the Commander of the VFW Post 1212 in Parkersburg, “Being a combat veteran myself, I think that we have to remember our history and the people that have died in service to our nation to make sure we are a free nation.”

Neil Dowler, Member of the American Legion Post 15 Parkersburg color guard. Retired Staff Sergeant in the United States Airforce, “It means the world to me because not only did I serve in the Air Force, but my father was in WWII and he was shot down in France during the war…and my brother was in the navy during the Vietnam conflict and I served 2.5 years in Vietnam.”

Gene Venham AMVETS Commander of Marietta Post 1788, “I’ve spent 30 years in the military so it means a lot to me

Larry Proctor, Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Military of the Purple Heart Representative on the Washington County Veterans Service Commission, and retired Army Sergeant, “My father was a WWII veteran, my grandfather was a WWI veteran…/my mother was a rosie the riveter…”

For the past 28 years, December 7th has marked National Pearl Harbor Day.

It’s on this day that veterans and community members gather together to honor the lives of 2,403 service members and civilians. Larry Proctor referred to it as a ‘sad day’.

Days to honor and commemorate those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country are important to help keep the memories alive.

“If we fail to remember those times, the children and the young people of today will not understand what sacrifices the generations before them made for the freedom in this country,” Neil Dowler explained.

15 different veteran organizations put 14 wreaths in the water at Parkersburg’s Point Park Ceremony.

At Marietta’s ceremony, six veteran organization dropped six wreaths into the water.

Darrin Shrewsberry says this is a symbol commemorating the water deaths on that day 81 years ago.

Shrewsberry said being a part of these ceremonies makes him proud.

“It makes me feel proud to be a Wood County Residence and a resident of West Virginia because… historically West Virginia has always been about their veterans and I think this is just another tribute to that.”

Dowler said it’s great to see all of the different groups coming together.

“I just think that it’s a wonderful thing that all of the military organizations get together and do this in remembrance of Pearl Harbor and the terrible times that happened at that time in our lives.”

Larry Proctor was the Keynote speaker at Marietta’s ceremony. He says he would have liked to see even more community members at the event, but is thankful for everyone who did come.

“But it’s very nice. Those are the people that truly understand what price has been paid… freedom is not free. The prices people paid for us to be able to stand here and do this are phenomenal. We owe all our respect to them. So coming out here and doing a little bit of remembrance just makes my heart happy.”

To all the service men and women to have served or are currently serving our country… thank you.