Lest it be forgotten, veterans and local supporters held a short ceremony Saturday morning to commemorate the anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, precipitating the United States' entry into World War II.
"It is something that made us as a country stand up," Mayor Harry Rilling told the gathering.
"We know we are losing the Greatest Generation at the rate of a thousand a day," he said, urging the four World War II veterans present to keep sharing their stories so future generations would understand their sacrifices.
"It's a wonderful thing," veteran Bob Spielman, 88, of Norwalk, who served on the U.S.S. Alabama and U.S.S. Pittsburgh, said of the ceremony. "But you see how many people are here? They won't even remember World War II in a couple of years."
"You could sit here all day and tell stories -- good stories and bad stories," he said, but expressed regret that one day there would be no witnesses remaining to the World War II events that changed the world.
Paul Harris, 87, of Norwalk is grateful for his grandson, 17-year-old Ryan Harris, who has skipped school to attend a veterans' program with him. "I think it's just marvelous," he said.
"I really respect him for everything he's done for this country," said the younger Harris. "I never miss a Veterans Day ceremony."
Damian Correa, 16, was among the members of Brien McMahon High School's Navy Junior ROTC members, who took part in the event.
"There are a lot of young people who are not interested in it, but there are a lot of exceptions as well," he said. "I respect the veterans a lot and I look up to them, and I'm planning to follow their steps."
Don Gaynor, 88, of Norwalk, recalled that on that day 73 years ago he was working as an usher at the Empress Theatre in Norwalk. "The movies were always packed on Sundays," he said.
But the movie screening was halted for an announcement that all military personnel should report to their posts immediately because of the attack on the U.S. homeland.
"The guys who were 18 went in the next day and signed up," he said.
Frank Gallo, 87, of Norwalk who served with ground forces invading Germany in 1944, said the fear of being in combat is unimaginable until you're actually there.
"When you're 18 and you're in combat and somebody's shooting at you, you're a baby," he said. "I'll tell you, I cried." Read Full Article
While Dan Caporale, a Vietnam veteran from Norwalk, was pleased there was a Pearl Harbor Day remembrance, he wished it had been better attended.
"I wish there were more people, that's all," he said. "I wish more of the young crowd would attend."
"It's a shame the young generation doesn't get involved," said Bonnie Caporale.