Clovis Veterans Memorial District Hosts Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Francisco “Frank” Paredes speaks with Paul Loeffler about his experience at Pearl Harbor. Frank at the age of 102, is one of the last living survivors of the December 7th, 1941 attacks. (Photo by JT Gomez, Clovis Roundup)

December 7th – At the Clovis Veterans Memorial District a ceremony was held in remembrance of the events that transpired on December 7th, 1941.

Known as “Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day”, the Clovis Veterans Memorial District did everything in their power to stick to the motto of “We Will Never Forget” when thinking of the events of that day.

CVMD CEO Lorenzo Rios opened the program by introducing Chaplain Terry Rommereim for an invocation right before the Presentation of Colors and National Anthem.

The Presentation of Colors was provided by the Marine Corps League Detachment 14, and the Anthem sung by Valerie Salcedo was honored by the lowering of caps, the standing of the crowd, and the crossing of hearts as spectators looked on.

Just after a final show of loyalty to the nation, the Pledge of Allegiance led by VFW Post 3225 Post Commander Jim Powroznik, Lorenzo Rios then came back to the podium to list the events that occurred on the day that met in the ends of many American lives, both soldiers and civilians.

Beginning as early as 6:10 AM on the morning of December 7th, events began to transpire that would have effect on the rest of the late morning and early afternoon.

According to the CVMD, the Minesweeper USS Condor sighted a periscope off the beach of Pearl Harbor.

At the same time, the first wave of Japanese planes began their takeoff from aircraft carriers.

Then, listed as the first shots of World War II by the U.S., were fired at a Japanese submarine about 30 minutes later by the USS Ward.

The USS Ward would then go on to radio the Navy Headquarters, however the decoding process would delay their message.

At around 7:40 AM the first wave of Japanese aircraft would reach Oahu, and only nine minutes later would the attack be ordered by the Japanese military.

At 8:10 AM, the USS Arizona exploded and sank to the depths of the ocean, carrying 1,177 passengers with it, amassing half of the deaths that occurred on December 7th.

The Destroyer USS Helm would sink a Japanese submarine at the entrance of the harbor just after this.

A second wave of the attack on Pearl Harbor began at around 8:54 AM that morning, and would continue on for the next hour up until around 10 AM. The USS Shaw would explode during this period of time in a dry dock.

After this historization of the events that would come about on December 7th, the December 8th President Franklin Delano Roosevelt address to Congress was played to the onlooking crowd, in which the President asks the Congress of the United States to declare war and officially enter World War II.

Lorenzo Rios would come back to introduce World War II Veteran and actual witness to the events of December 7th, Francisco “Frank” Paredes to come to the stage and speak about his experience.

Accompanied by Paul Loeffler, Paredes explained to the crowd that he was scared in the moment to be at the base but he was proud to be fighting for his country as a soldier in the Army.

In fact, one of the last survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack here in the Valley, Paredes would go on to serve 28 years of his 102 year old life in the Army, as proud as he was on this day of remembrance.

Frank Paredes would finish his session with Loeffler on stage by declaring, “War is war. You either kill or get killed.”

Finally, before ending the ceremony with the playing of “Taps”, a bell ceremony was held in which those who died on the day of the Pearl Harbor attacks and its aftermath, were honored.

Each branch that lost lives, including the US Navy, the US Army, US Marines, were respected alongside US Civilians who also lost lives, with the ringing of the bell and saluting by a representative.

Each representative from the VFW Post 3225 & American Legion Post 147 would remain on the stage for the duration of the rendition of “Taps” played by Gerald Hayden, member of the VFW Post 3225.

The ceremony was then closed by the mentioning of the partnerships within the Valley from Lorenzo Rios and he invited those in attendance to stick around and enjoy refreshments and discover the Garden of Honor presented by the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.

JT is a recent college grad with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. He is mainly interested in sports and entertainment but covers a wide array of subjects. He currently writes for the Fresno State Baseball Dugout Club. JT looks forward to continuing his career at the Clovis Roundup and is excited to be working closely with a community that is very proud of its people.