To honor those who served in Pearl Harbor and the Pacific Theater on Dec. 7, 1941, VFW Post 696 will host a Pearl Harbor remembrance service Saturday.
On the day the Japanese attacked Honolulu, Hawaii, 38 Daviess County residents were serving in the military there and other locations in the Pacific, said Louis Drawdy, a member of the local VFW. That number includes nurses in the Philippines who were among the group called the "Angels of Bataan."
The remembrance ceremony is open to the public and will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday at the VFW Post, 311 W. Veterans Blvd. Post members have hosted the event annually since 1991, which was the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.
To Drawdy, the VFW participates in three annual events that are especially important: Memorial Day, Veterans Day Parade and the Pearl Harbor remembrance service.
Drawdy said 2016 was the last time a veteran who served in Pearl Harbor or the Pacific Theater attended the post's annual ceremony.
"The ones we know about have all died," Drawdy said.
At the remembrance service, VFW members conduct the two-bell ceremony, which honors fallen sailors. A bell rings twice at the start of the service.
Then, it rings 38 times in honor of local men and women who served in Pearl Harbor and the Pacific Theater during the attack.
The ceremony lasts about 20 minutes.
The San Diego chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association — perhaps the only chapter left nationwide — met for the last time in September. Its membership had dwindled from nearly 600 members to only 7, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Although most Pearl Harbor survivors have died, it's still important to reflect on the attack, Drawdy said.
"We need to remember our past," he said. "If we don't remember what we did then and why we did it, we are doomed to repeat our mistakes."
Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, email@example.com