HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Tuesday marked the 80th anniversary of a day that the greatest generation can never forget. There is typically a remembrance ceremony at the state capitol. But not this year and it has nothing to do with COVID.
Outside the state capitol, flags at half staff on this Dec. 7. But inside the day that will live in infamy, is not remembered. The silence, a break in a long tradition.
Pearl Harbor Day has been remembered here for many years. Pa.’s survivors are honored. Their first-hand accounts are told.
“All the fire and the smoke and dive-bombers.” “The noises and the strafing got us up.” “I saw these planes up in the air, they looked like a bunch of bees.” “I just knew I was going to die.”
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“It’s very important to tell those stories, why the guys are still here, our greatest generation is slipping away fast and we want to make sure they’re appreciated and acknowledged,” Barbara Spaventa of Central Pa. World War II Roundtable said.
But no remembrance on this 80th anniversary because of another day of infamy. The Jan. 6 insurrection in our nation’s capitol has led to tighter security in the state capitol. No outside events are allowed. The remembrance day was always organized by the Navy.”It’s very sad but I think for safety and also to keep these individuals safe because of their age it’s something we all have to deal with,” Spaventa said.
Spaventa is doing her best to keep memories alive even if she can’t do that for the men themselves. There are just two Pearl Harbor survivors from Pa. still living. 100-year-old Isaac George from outside Pittsburgh, “And Dick Shimmel is actually in Hawaii right now as we speak. He’s a wonderful ballroom dancer. I’ve had the privilege of dancing with him before and he’s quite light on his feet,” Spaventa said.
It’s unclear if there will be a remembrance ceremony on the 81st anniversary. What is clear, there will be fewer World War II vets to witness it.