Linden High School remembers Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor survivors will recall the Japanese surprise attack and attend ceremonies around the nation on Sunday.

On Tuesday, December 9, the Linden High School History Department will host commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, its first Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony.

The event will begin at 8:45 a.m. in the Linden High School Media Center, located at 121 W. St. Georges Avenue, in Linden.

Two local WWII veterans, Angelo Monaco and Dominick DeJohn, are expected to attend and officials will be streaming the event live throughout the school.

Anyone who plans on attending is advised that parking may be hard to find.

The number of living Pearl Harbor survivors continues to shrink as there are an estimated 1,000 or fewer of them alive on the 73rd anniversary of what President Franklin Roosevelt described as the “day that will live in infamy.”

As memories have faded over the years, the attack on Pearl Harbor anniversary has become second in the minds of many Americans to events marking the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that have so radically changed America.

That is, except for the aging veterans who experienced it.

More than 2,400 sailors, Marines and soldiers died in the infamous Sunday morning surprise dive bomber attack by Japanese aircraft.

In a little over an hour they destroyed most of the U.S. Navy fleet anchored in the harbor and Americans were soon officially involved in World War II.

Only 335 men survived the bombing of the USS Arizona, and nine of them are living. Four of those survivors this year attended the last official reunion in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. They are from left, John Anderson, 97, of Roswell, New Mexico; Donald Stratton, 92, of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Louis Conter, 93, of Grass Valley, California; and Lauren F. Bruner, 94, of La Mirada, California.

Bruner was second to the last to leave the USS Arizona before the mighty symbol of American power sank to the bottom of the harbor and he was aboard the Coghlan, accompanied General Douglas MacArthur to the Philippines and was anchored in the harbor off Nagasaki, Japan, when the second atomic bomb exploded.

Harold Henry Pouyadou, a 94-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor and U.S. Navy veteran, now living in Mobile, Alabama recalled the event 73 years after the attack.

“I was probably considered dead,” Pouyadou said, as he remembered lying in debris on Ford Island where he was stationed.

“All hell broke loose just before 8 a.m.,” said 94-year-old Ira Schab, who was about to meet his brother in Pearl Harbor, where he had just transferred, on board an auxiliary vessel designed to provide maintenance support to fast, maneuverable long-endurance warships.
“I was a musician first class and we were on a destroyer tender,” said Schab, who now resides in Portland, Oregon. “The destroyers were big ships and they were able to put up enough fire to deflect most of the dive bombers. We did take a blast on one of the ships and three men died from shrapnel wounds.”

Schab spent most of the war doing repairs as the destroyer tender hopped from one island to the next through the South Pacific Ocean.

Schab went on to earn double degrees in electronics and math at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.

He worked for the Navy for 40 years and ended up his last year of government service with NASA on the Apollo project.

“I was in charge of the three tracking ships in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans to track the Apollo flights,” he said. “If we hadn’t had those ships, the Apollo flights would have never happened.”

There are only nine survivors of the USS Arizona, a battleship that sank in the Dec. 7, 1941 attack. Arizona’s sunken hull, still holds the bodies of more than 900 of about 1,177 men who died on the battleship, and ashes of 38 survivors are interred there.

The ceremony sponsored by Hudson County, set for Sunday at 7:15 a.m. at the foot of Grand Street near the waterfront, is the second-longest running Pearl Harbor Remembrance ceremony in the country, after the one at the maritime graveyard in the Hawaiian Islands itself.

“I learned something about faith,” said John Anderson, 97, of Roswell, New Mexico, recalling that he had just gone to church services and was heading to breakfast when someone said they saw the planes coming. He became teary-eyed as he discussed his twin brother dying in the attack.
The same day the Soviet Union invaded Japanese occupied Manchukuo, an area comprised of northern China, Korea and Mongolia on August 9, 1945, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.
The surrender of the Empire of Japan on September 2, 1945, brought the hostilities of World War II to a close.

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