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West Haven News

Posted on: December 7, 2018

Pearl Harbor remembered at solemn Bradley Pt. ceremony

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PHOTO — West Haven Veterans Council President Dave Ricci salutes after laying a wreath at the base of the granite William A. Soderman Memorial on the Veterans Walk of Honor in Bradley Point Park during the council’s annual observance of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on Friday, Dec. 7, as state Rep. Dorinda Borer, D-West Haven, looks on. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

WEST HAVEN, Dec. 7, 2018 — The West Haven Veterans Council observed the 77th anniversary of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor during its annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony Friday, Dec. 7, at the William A. Soderman Memorial on the Veterans Walk of Honor in Bradley Point Park.

Amid a bitter cold, late autumn breeze, Lou Esposito, the master of ceremonies and Mayor Nancy R. Rossi’s executive assistant, delivered poignant remarks on her behalf to the huddled crowd of about 75 veterans, residents, and city and state officials, honoring the patriotic sons and daughters who made the ultimate sacrifice nearly eight decades ago on the eve of America’s entry into World War II.

On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft, launched from six aircraft carriers, bombed the U.S. Navy base on Oahu, Hawaii, killing 2,335 service members and 68 civilians.

“I think it’s important during the busy month of December to stop and think about the people who died at Pearl Harbor 77 years ago and all the families who were affected that day — the date that does live on in infamy,” Esposito said.

“As members of the greatest generation continue to pass away, events such as the horrific attack on Pearl Harbor seem to drift into the historic domain,” he said. “If we do not take the time to remember, we risk a sense of disconnection that dishonors the memory of those who died.”

Esposito continued: “West Haven is fortunate to have this place — Bradley Point, the Soderman Memorial Flagpole and our Veterans Walk of Honor — where we can gather to remember our military, honor our veterans, and assemble on special occasions such as this. Let us reflect on the lives lost on Dec. 7, 1941, and always appreciate the sacrifices borne by our veterans.”

The 35-minute event included remarks from Ben Florsheim, an aide to U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.; state Reps. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven, and Dorinda Borer, D-West Haven; Steve Carney, vice president and treasurer of the Veterans Council; and Freddy Jackson, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9422.

It was attended by City Clerk Deborah Collins and Councilman Peter V. Massaro, D-6.

Representing the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Florence Stoeber, wife of the late Jack Stoeber, a Navy veteran of Pearl Harbor and Iwo Jima, read the names of the 18 Connecticut servicemen who died at Pearl Harbor. West Haven Fire Department Lt. William Heffernan tolled the department’s chrome bell each instant a name was called.

Stoeber, whose ashes were scattered in Pearl Harbor after he died Jan. 16, 2016, at age 97, was a .50-caliber machine-gunner aboard the destroyer tender USS Whitney in the Pacific theater of World War II. Decades later, he was a regular at West Haven’s Pearl Harbor rites for many years.

Florence Stoeber was accompanied by her 5-year-old grandson, Matthew McCann, who led the Pledge of Allegiance.

The solemn service commenced with a presentation of the colors by the West Haven Police Color Guard and a flag-raising by the West Haven Fire Department Honor Guard, which comprises members of the City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown, the West Haven Fire Department and the West Shore Fire Department.

It featured opening and closing prayers by Victor M. Borras of Gateway Christian Fellowship and a rendition of the national anthem by West Haven High School sophomore Nora E. Mullins.

The tribute also included a wreath-laying by Veterans Council President Dave Ricci and taps played by former West Shore fire Lt. Kevin McKeon.

For the latest news and information, subscribe to the city’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CityofWestHaven.

— MICHAEL P. WALSH, Public Relations Information Coordinator

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Lou Esposito, the master of ceremonies and Mayor Nancy R. Rossi’s executive assistant, delivers remarks on her behalf. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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The West Haven Police Color Guard leads the opening procession. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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The West Haven Fire Department Honor Guard, composed of members of the City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown, the West Haven Fire Department and the West Shore Fire Department, carries the American flag to the William A. Soderman Memorial Flagpole for the ceremonial raising. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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Members of the West Haven Fire Department Honor Guard raise the Stars and Stripes. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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West Haven High School sophomore Nora E. Mullins sings “The Star-Spangled Banner.” (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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Mayoral Executive Assistant Lou Esposito holds the microphone for Matthew McCann, 5, as he recites the Pledge of Allegiance. Looking on are Matthew’s grandmother, Florence Stoeber, and state Rep. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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Representing the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Florence Stoeber, wife of the late Jack Stoeber, a Navy veteran of Pearl Harbor and Iwo Jima, reads the names of the 18 Connecticut servicemen who died during the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as mayoral Executive Assistant Lou Esposito looks on. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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West Haven Fire Department Lt. William Heffernan rings the department’s chrome bell 18 times in honor of the 18 Connecticut servicemen who died at the U.S. Navy base on Oahu, Hawaii. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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 Former West Shore Fire Department Lt. Kevin McKeon plays taps. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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