West Virginia University will honor the more than 2,400 victims killed at Pearl Harbor at the 75th anniversary commemoration ceremony to be held Dec. 7 at 9 a.m. at Oglebay Plaza on the WVU Downtown Campus.
On December 7, 1941, shortly before 8 a.m., more than 300 Japanese fighter planes began their surprise assault on the American naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii. Two hours later, 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 were wounded. Among the deceased were 106 crewmembers from the U.S.S. West Virginia, which sunk after being struck by two bombs and seven torpedoes and becoming engulfed in a fuel-fed fire.
“As we mark the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, let us remember the courage and resilience of the crew of the USS West Virginia and the thousands of men who served onboard several other ships that died that day,” said Jerry McCarthy, program director for the WVU Office of Veterans Affairs. “Never let us forget that we owe those who have borne the cost of battle a pledge to uphold and never take for granted the freedoms that we have. It is because of their sacrifices that we can still proclaim ‘Montani Semper Liberi,’ Mountaineers are always free.”
Remarks will be given by President E. Gordon Gee, retired Navy Captain Douglas Arnold, local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 548 and Air Force and Army Cadets.
Followed by a brunch served in the Mountainlair Ballrooms, the event is sponsored by WVU Veterans Affairs. Ceremonies marking the anniversary of Pearl Harbor have taken place at the Oglebay Plaza since the early 1970s.
To RSVP for the brunch, click here.
The University will continue the commemorative events as the West Virginia University Libraries’ West Virginia & Regional History Center will open an exhibit in the Rockefeller Gallery the week of the December 7 to honor the U.S.S. West Virginia and lives lost during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“The U.S.S. West Virginia was the outermost ship moored on battleship row at Pearl Harbor and thus the very first ship hit,” WVRHC Director John Cuthbert said. “It was also struck by more torpedoes and bombs than any other vessel.”
The exhibit will focus on the U.S.S West Virginia and the crews stationed on the vessel during the prewar years, the Pearl Harbor attack and later in Pacific Theater battles.
Photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, artifacts and personal items passed down by sailors who served on the ship and collectors will be on display. Highlights include a uniform and scrapbook, both from survivors, and a video of an oral history interview with a survivor.
WVU Veteran Affairs is a one-stop-shop for student veterans. The office assists enrolled students and students who are on or off active duty. They are involved in developing, implementing and supervising special programs and veteran organizations on campus. Additionally, the office offers counseling and academic advising.
For more information about the U.S.S. West Virginia exhibit, visit https://wvrhc.lib.wvu.edu/ or call 304.293.3536.
CONTACT: Jerry McCarthy, WVU Veteran Affairs
CONTACT: Monte Maxwell, communications coordinator, WVU Libraries
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.