Armed Forces Retirement Home Remembers Pearl Harbor

This Sunday marks the 73rd anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the day the U.S. entered World War II. In honor of the surviving WWII veterans who were there, the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport held a Remembrance Day ceremony.

On December 7th, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in a sneak attack on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, killing 2,000 Americans, prompting the U.S. to enter WWII. Marvin Westcott was just 200 miles outside of Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack, and couldn’t believe his eyes when he arrived there the next day. Westcott says, "The princes, the kings of the Navy, the battleships turned over, sunk, on fire, picking up bodies, my God I couldn’t believe it."

Hugh Wingo was also on an aircraft carrier outside Pearl Harbor during the attacks and he remembers how the bombings awoke the sleeping giant of the American forces. Wingo says, "From that day on, we chased submarines around. That’s all we had left to do was chase submarines. The destroyers, all our big ships were gone. Thank goodness our carriers were at sea and we saved them."

Wescott also says, "We didn’t have much of a Navy after Pearl, and we had quite a load to carry and we did it. We loved it." Wescott believes the Americans wouldn’t have won WWII if it wasn’t for its people’s undying spirit. Westcott says, "And nobody ever tested the American people. We came from all over the world, but we were together, and we were Americans, and boy were we proud, and that was our spirit."

Friday, the Armed Forces Retirement Home honored both Wescott and Wingo for their service during the war. Wingo says, "Oh it was beautiful. I almost missed it. I almost overslept." On Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we remember those who died defending the place we all call home.

Wescott closes, "They’re here. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about them."

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