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Posted on: December 7, 2023

Pearl Harbor remembered at solemn Bradley Point tribute

Pearl Harbor Day 2023 1 II (Small)

PHOTO — West Haven City Clerk John W. Lewis reads prepared remarks on behalf of Mayor Dorinda Borer commemorating Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and the 82nd anniversary of Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor during an observance on the Veterans Walk of Honor in Bradley Point Park in West Haven on Thursday, Dec. 7. Borer was unable to attend because of her first meeting as mayor with the state Municipal Accountability Review Board in Hartford. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

WEST HAVEN, Dec. 7, 2023 — The city and the West Haven Veterans Council commemorated Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on the Veterans Walk of Honor in Bradley Point Park on Thursday, Dec. 7.

Before a gathering of veterans, city leaders and residents, City Clerk John W. Lewis read prepared remarks on behalf of Mayor Dorinda Borer honoring the American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice 82 years ago during Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

Borer was unable to attend because of her first meeting as mayor with the state Municipal Accountability Review Board in Hartford.

On Dec. 7, 1941, just before 8 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time, a swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes descended on the island of Oahu and bombed the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, killing 2,335 service members and 68 civilians and thrusting America into World War II.

“Thirty days after the Pearl Harbor attack, 134,000 Americans enlisted in the military,” said Lewis, speaking in front of a black granite memorial in honor of World War II Army Pfc. William A. Soderman.

“The attack on Pearl Harbor created a wave of patriotism and outrage, which sparked an industrial boom in our country,” said Lewis, the master of ceremonies.

The solemn service featured a presentation of the colors by the West Haven Police Honor Guard.

After thanking the veterans in attendance for their service, West Haven Fire Department Chief James P. O’Brien read the names of the 18 Connecticut servicemen who died at Pearl Harbor. Retired Lt. William Heffernan III, the department’s historian, rang the department’s chrome bell each instant a name was called, as a line of chiefs, officers and firefighters from the West Haven, West Shore and City of West Haven Allingtown fire departments saluted.

At the end of Borer’s poignant remarks, Lewis said: “It is important for us to come together each and every year to commemorate this event. I ask you today, when you leave this ceremony, to speak with your family about what took place in our country 82 years ago, so the attack will never be forgotten and never be repeated.”

Connecticut’s last known Pearl Harbor survivor, Floyd Welch, died in 2020 at age 99. Welch, of East Lyme, served aboard the battleship USS Maryland and helped save many lives aboard the bombarded battleship USS Oklahoma.

In observance of Pearl Harbor Day, Veterans Council President Dave Ricci, a Marine Corps vet of the Vietnam War, led the crowd in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and Lewis and West Haven Municipal Veterans Rep. Rich Deso, a Navy vet, laid a wreath at the base of the William A. Soderman Memorial.

Soderman received the Medal of Honor after distinguishing himself in December 1944 while defending an important road junction near Rocherath, Belgium.

The seaside ceremony included a procession of dignitaries and a flag-raising by the West Haven Fire Department Honor Guard.

It was attended by Secretary Herbert Hill of the First Fire Taxation District’s Board of Fire Commissioners, acting Director Katy Ronan Vecellio of the 911 Communications Center, and City Council members Gary Donovan, D-4, Dawn Callahan, D-6, and Brian Laucks, D-at large.

The half-hour program also included the national anthem sung by West Haven High School sophomore Chloe Payne, opening and closing prayers given by Vertical Church Pastor Randal Alquist, and taps played by retired West Shore fire Lt. Kevin McKeon.

— MICHAEL P. WALSH, Public Relations Information Coordinator

Pearl Harbor Day 2023 1 II (Small)

West Haven City Clerk John W. Lewis reads prepared remarks on behalf of Mayor Dorinda Borer commemorating Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and the 82nd anniversary of Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor during an observance on the Veterans Walk of Honor in Bradley Point Park in West Haven on Thursday, Dec. 7. Borer was unable to attend because of her first meeting as mayor with the state Municipal Accountability Review Board in Hartford. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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The West Haven Police Department Honor Guard presents the colors. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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

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West Haven High School sophomore Chloe Payne sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” as a line of West Haven, West Shore and Allingtown fire chiefs, officers and firefighters salute. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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Vertical Church Pastor Randal Alquist gives the invocation. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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Retired Lt. William Heffernan III tolls the West Haven Fire Department’s chrome bell 18 times in honor of the 18 Connecticut servicemen who died at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Heffernan, the department’s historian, rang the bell after Chief James P. O’Brien read the name of each serviceman. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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Master of ceremonies John W. Lewis, left, and West Haven Municipal Veterans Rep. Rich Deso, a Navy vet, lay a wreath at the base of the William A. Soderman Memorial in remembrance of the 18 Connecticut servicemen who died in the Japanese bombing of the U.S. Navy base on Oahu, Hawaii. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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Retired West Shore fire Lt. Kevin McKeon plays taps. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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West Haven, West Shore and Allingtown fire chiefs, officers and firefighters salute. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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