Story and photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Pedro A. Rodriguez, NDW Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) – Naval District Washington (NDW) hosted a wreath laying ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., Dec. 7, to commemorate the 74th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The ceremony honored the victims and survivors of the Dec. 1941 attack by the Japanese during World War II.
Among the guests, was Pearl Harbor Survivor Mr. Frank Yanick, the sole survivor of the crew of the USS Phoenix (CL-46). Yanick was 19 years old when the attack happened, he described running through the ship, and the smoke, getting through the hatches and ripping off his graduation ring – directing fire through the smoke that billowed from the sinking ships in the harbor.
“The commemoration is important for America to be alert,” said Yanick. “We got caught unguarded and unprepared at Pearl Harbor and the big thing is to be alert to fight any foe coming in.”
Guest speaker Rear Adm. Alma M. Grocki, director, Fleet Maintenance, U.S. Pacific Fleet talked about her days in Hawaii as a child with her dad being a yard worker and her being on her home watching the Japanese flying by on their way to executing the attack on Pearl Harbor initiating the United States participation in World War II.
“Remembering Pearl Harbor is more than remembering the fates of the Sailors and Marines on that day, it’s also about the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen stationed on every ship and every shore command in Hawaii, it’s about honoring the Pearl Harbor survivors like Mr. Yanick here today who was on the USS Phoenix, who continued to serving and fighting.” said Grocki. “It is also about the civilians who lived under martial law and the ordinary citizens who supported the armed forces on the home front, with everything from victory gardens to buying bonds. Remembering Pearl Harbor is about American resilience and being prepared.”
Commandant, Naval District Washington Rear Adm. Yancy Lindsey along with Grocki proceeded placed a wreath at the stature of the Lone Sailor to commemorate the event. A bugler played taps culminating the ceremony.
Following the ceremony, guests proceeded to the Navy Memorial Historical Society with the Pearl Harbor survivor, to speak about his experiences and share his memories of that day.
For more news from Naval District Washington, visit www.navy.mil/local/ndw/.