WATERVILLE — When members of the Elks Lodge veterans committee realized they knew of services for the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor only in Bangor, Gardiner and Portland, they decided they had to do something in their community.

“We just felt that it was important to do something,” said Al Stedman, chairman of the committee and a retired Air Force veteran.

Wednesday was the 75th anniversary of the infamous Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor, which killed about 2,400 American servicemen and pushed the United States into World War II.

The committee had only about four days to plan from the time they decided to hold a service, but they still gathered about 50 people in the lodge on Industrial Road.

“Once we get rolling on something, we work quickly to get it together,” Stedman said.

The service, short and sweet, began with music and then the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Dan Berard, the state commander of Disabled American Veterans.

Chaplain Sandi Anderson then said a prayer in remembrance of those who died at Pearl Harbor.

“We honor the memory of the 2,400 brave Americans who gave their lives, as well as all those who stood in our defense,” she said.

Ken Eaton, a member of the Elks Lodge, read the names of two local men who served on the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor and died.

Joseph Herbert Jancuis, who grew up in Winslow, was 23 and stationed at Hickam Field in Hawaii.

John French, from Skowhegan, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland in 1922 and held the rank of lieutenant commander. He was 41 when he died at Pearl Harbor and was survived by his wife and a son.

“That’s just to put a couple of names with the 2,400 lives that were lost that fateful day,” Eaton said.

Stedman said he thought the service went well. The committee hopes to hold a remembrance annually for veterans.

“I think the people are looking to thank the veterans more every day,” he said.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour


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