The Daviess County High School Junior Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps has been selected to participate on Tuesday, Dec. 7, in an 80th anniversary ceremony of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which will take place onboard the LST-325 in Evansville.
Commander Shawn Michaels said participation in this event will be good for his fellow cadets.
Michaels, a DCHS senior, said attending and participating in ceremonial events benefits students in a number of ways. For one, it provides them with the experience of a formal event.
“It’s also important for us to learn about and remember Pearl Harbor, and the events of that day that killed so many, and jump-started the U.S. involvement in World War II,” the 18-year-old said.
The LST-325 is the only operational LST in WWII configuration still afloat in U.S. waters, according to the website lstmemorial.org.
The ship was launched Oct. 27, 1942 and it participated in the war effort through 1946. It was reactivated for military service in 1951, and was taken out of service 10 years later.
Its third reactivation was from 1963 when it was transferred to the Greek Navy until 1999. In 2000, the ship was acquired by the USS Ship Memorial. It remains one of two WWII LSTs preserved in the U.S. and currently is docked at 610 NW Riverside Drive in Evansville, the website said.
Jawtae Paw, 17, DCHS lieutenant commander of the JNROTC, said the group is honored to have this opportunity.
“It is highly appropriate to honor our fallen heroes of Pearl Harbor, and the ones who serve us today, and allow us to live in this world peacefully and free,” Jawtae said.
About 50 students will participate in this ceremony, said DCHS senior naval science instructor Tyler Goad.
An event like this is great because it allows students to connect with history, and have a chance to glimpse what life may have been like for the soldiers who lived through the Pearl Harbor invasion, he said.
“As a high school teacher, I like to bring out historical examples a lot to kind of help illustrate how things have gone in the past, and how they can go in the future,” Goad said. “Using naval service, especially for this group, is helpful because kids really connect with that, and understand service to the nation is a high calling.”
James Goodall, an organizer for the event who has also been a tour guide on the LST-325 since 2007, said students will participate in the ceremony that will include laying a wreath in the Ohio River, and the playing of taps.
After the ceremony, students will then tour the LST-325, where history will be brought alive, and they will “get a taste for history they don’t get in the classroom,” Goodall said.
Events like this should be significant to the American people because 1.8 million Americans have died for our freedoms since 1775, Goodall said.
“Some years ago my wife and I made a trip to Pearl Harbor,” he said. “We went to the USS Arizona memorial.”
Looking down on the sunken ship where 1,000 men died and were entombed on Dec. 7, 1941 is an experience he will never forget. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that date one that will “live in infamy,” Goodall said.
“Well it’s up to us to be sure that it’s not forgotten,” he said.
The event will take place at 10 a.m., with the gang way opening at 9 a.m.
Bobbie Hayse, email@example.com, 270-691-7315