Remembering the attack on Pearl Harbor

A Pearl Harbor Ceremony of Remembrance will be held at the Veterans Wall of Honor, at Heritage Park, 101 Lake Dow Road, just off Ga. Highway 81 East, in McDonough.

The 45-minute program, beginning today at 12:30 p.m., is being sponsored by the Andrew McBride Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The ceremony acknowledges the attack on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when hundreds of Japanese fighter planes launched an assault on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, near Honolulu, Hawaii. Amid the destruction were casualties, estimated to be more than 2,000 American soldiers and sailors dead, with another 1,000 wounded. The event, and the victims of that day, provided a catalyst for the U.S. to eventually enter World War II (WWII).

Today's keynote speaker, Bob Schmutzler, is a WWII veteran, and Pearl Harbor survivor. Schmutzler also spoke earlier this week at his church, Bible Baptist Church in Hampton, on his experience during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

"It was an honor to have Bob Schmutzler speak," said Timothy Lee, acting senior pastor at Bible Baptist. "It is vital that we never forget the lessons we should learn from the attack on Pearl Harbor, the sacrifice made by all of our servicemen, and [service]women to protect the precious freedom we enjoy.

"The ‘Great Generation' of WWII will soon be gone," Lee continued. "We need to honor these aged veterans while they still live. The testimony of Bob Schmutzler is greatly enhanced by his faith in God and his faithfulness to his wife [Luisa]."

Schmutzler will participate in a "Laying of the Wreath" ceremony, escorted by Commandant Tom Oakes, Sam Lites, and Harry McCann, McDonough Marine Corps League, and Commandant Randy Barnes, Griffin Marine Corps League.

Helen Busbin, of the Andrew McBride Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), will provide opening and closing remarks, and the DAR speaker will be Christine Hurst.

The national anthem will be performed by Juli Gilbert, "God Bless America" will be sung by Sam Lites, and Taps will be played by bugler, Randy Rawlins. Pete Smart, of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 11576, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and other speakers include DAR members Anne Gauthier, Amy Penn and Ida Lou Sims.

There will be a special tribute, "Today We Remember," ceremonial ringing of the bells at 12:55 p.m., followed by a moment of silence.

In the event of inclement weather, attendees are asked to go to the Parks and Recreation Department Community Room B, at 99 Lake Dow Road, in Heritage Park, McDonough, according to Jim Joyce, facility coordinator for Henry County Parks and Recreation. For more information, call (770) 288-7300.