HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Ceremonies around Pearl Harbor Day looked different this year due to COVID-19. Due to the veterans’ age and pandemic concerns, all of the ceremonies were online.
“The Navy has been conducting a joint ceremony with the National Parks Service on December 7th every year for about the last 15 years,” said Jim Neuman, history and outreach manager at Navy Region Hawaii.
Jack Myers, a Williamsport native, and World War II veteran was invited to make the trip to Hawaii this year. While he had made this trip several times before, he was hesitant before the trip got canceled.
“It was kind of dangerous to travel now for older people. We’re all in our 90’s,” he said.
Navy Region Hawaii still conducted their ceremony online, live-streaming all of the same events on their Facebook page.
“The difference was because we didn’t have veterans there, we really tried to find ways that we could honor the veterans knowing that they’re not there,” Neuman said.
“Any way we can honor the soldiers that fought in that war to win it – I’m all for it,” said Myers.
Neuman said that this is also preparation for the future, given the aging population of World War II veterans.
“What are we going to do when we don’t have veterans here at all? What are we going to do when the sad day comes that we don’t have veterans that we can honor on-site?” he said “This is a template of the kind of thing that we can do, that regardless of whether the veterans are here or not, they’re not forgotten by us, and we want them to know that they’re not forgotten.”
The livestreamed event can be viewed on Navy Region Hawaii’s Facebook page.
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