National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day was recognized Wednesday, Dec. 7, in Farmington. Rodney Titcomb carries the American flag and John Robinson the VFW flag to lead the procession to the midpoint of Center Bridge where a wreath was placed. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

FARMINGTON — Just before noon on Wednesday, Dec. 7, a small group of people gathered in the park and ride next to Center Bridge to pay tribute to those impacted by the attack on Pearl Harbor 41 years ago.

Some wore rain jackets, others stood beneath umbrellas. A few wore caps or no head coverings at all.

Gordon Webber hugs Kitty Gee, the widow of World War II veteran John Gee Wednesday, Dec. 7, during the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day observance held on Center Bridge in Farmington. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Farmington Police provided a lead escort as the group made its way to about the Sandy River midpoint. Another cruiser with lights flashing stopped near the entrance to the bridge to warn traffic to change lanes.

“Here it is another Pearl Harbor Day,” Gordon Webber said. “This is number 80 or 81, it’s hard to keep up.”

Kitty Gee while the shortest person in the group is the toughest, she makes sure Pearl Harbor isn’t forgotten, Webber noted. A widow, her husband John [Gee] was at D-Day, on the beaches at Normandy, he said.

“I got close to him at the end there, he was a great guy,” Webber noted. “He was a World War II veteran, a real hero. Quite a few times you would try to talk to him about what he had done and he’d turn it around to what you had done.”


Webber asked if anyone knew what the national motto was. “Nobody knows, right?” he stated. “It’s ‘In God We Trust’.” We need to start trusting in Him, he noted.

According to Wikipedia, Dec. 7 was designated as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in 1994 by the United States Congress. “On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked the neutral United States at Naval Station Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii, killing 2,403 Americans and injuring 1,178 others. The attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships and damaged four others. It also damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer. Aircraft losses were 188 destroyed and 159 damaged,” the article noted.

“Canada declared war on Japan within hours of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the first Western nation to do so. On Dec. 8, the United States declared war on Japan and entered World War II on the side of the Allies,” the article stated.

According to the Pearl Harbor Tours website:

• The Wickes-class destroyer USS Ward attacked and sank a Ko-hyoteki-class midget submarine near the entrance to the harbor, making it not only the first shot fired on that day, but the first official American shots in the War. The minesweeper Condor spotted the Japanese sub’s periscope above the water, which alerted the crew of the Ward, who opened fire on the intruder. Unfortunately, the reports from the Ward were discounted and disbelieved by Navy brass. Something they’d pay dearly for. The ship’s crew didn’t get confirmation that they’d sunk the submarine for over 60 years.

• A remarkable USS Arizona fact that honors the survivors is that they have the option to join their lost comrades and make the ship their final resting place. Crew members who served on board the USS Arizona during the attack may choose to have their ashes deposited by divers beneath one of sunken Arizona’s gun turrets. Roughly 44 Arizona survivors have chosen this option.


• The day before the attacks, the USS Arizona took on a full load of fuel, nearly 1.5 million gallons. Much of that fuel helped ignite the explosion and subsequent fires that destroyed the ships, but amazingly, some fuel continues to seep out of the wreckage.

• Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto conceived the Pearl Harbor attack and Captain Minoru Genda planned it. Two things inspired Yamamoto’s Pearl Harbor idea: a prophetic book and a historic attack. The Great Pacific War was written in 1925 by Hector Bywater, a British naval authority. It was a realistic account of a clash between the United States and Japan that began with the Japanese destruction of the U.S. fleet and proceeded to a Japanese attack on Guam and the Philippines. When Britain’s Royal Air Force successfully attacked the Italian fleet at Taranto on Nov. 11, 1940, Yamamoto was convinced that Bywater’s fiction could become a reality.

• The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor a second time on March 4, 1942, in what they called Operation K. They used two four-engine naval flying boats, nicknamed “Emily” by the allies. The boats could carry one ton of bombs and had a crew of 10. Also known as the flying porcupine, it had five 20mm cannons and four machine guns in turrets and blisters. This time radar saw them coming, and just after midnight, air defense dispatched fighters to patrol Pearl Harbor. Unable to see the target due to cloudy weather, one aircraft dropped bombs on a remote hillside and the other into the ocean.

“We must never forget Pearl Harbor and D-Day, the supreme sacrifices that were made,” Webber said.

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