December 8, 2010

You Must Remember This

Enrico Casaletto and Hubert O’Hearn, both of Salem, salute the flag Tuesday during a Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony at the Salem VFW post. 
Union Leader Correspondent
Salem High School senior Chris DiPersio plays taps during
Tuesday’s Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony.
SALEM -- Growing up with stories of her father’s experiences during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Stephanie Micklon said Dec. 7 holds special meaning for her.
“I always try to come out on this day in his memory to honor his service,” said Micklon, a Salem resident and member of
 the Salem Memorial VFW Post Ladies Auxiliary.
Micklon’s father, Master Sgt.
Warren George of Salem, was at the beginning of his 23-year career with the U.S. Army while stationed at Pearl Harbor. On that Dec. 7, Micklon said, George was returning to base when the attack hit. He had to jump from his vehicle to narrowly escape an explosion, she said.
“If he hadn’t jumped just then,
 I wouldn’t be here,” Micklon said. “Today we need to take the time to say that we all couldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for those guys.” 

On Tuesday, Micklon and about a dozen members of Salem veterans groups gathered at the Salem Memorial VFW Post to honor the thousands of military personnel who did not make it out of the attacks alive. 
“‘Remember Pearl Harbor’ became America’s rallying cry,” said Salem VFW Post Commander and World War II veteran Hubert O’Hearn during the Tuesday ceremony. “Today we are telling those 2,335 who died on Dec. 7, 1941, that yes, we remember Pearl Harbor.” 
But with the more recent attacks of Sept. 11, O’Hearn said he worries some have let the memory of Pearl Harbor slip away. 
“Pearl Harbor is like 9/11, only that it started World War II, but the kids today don’t even know about it,” O’Hearn said. “We just don’t want anyone forgetting.” 
Post Senior Vice Commander Robert Ventullo of Salem, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he agrees. 
“Nowadays, people put other wars on the back burner,” Ventullo said. “With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, people tend to forget Word War II and Vietnam and Korea, and they don’t observe them as much as they should.” 
But Salem High School senior Chris DiPersio said there are still some young people for whom Dec. 7 holds meaning. 
“I don’t know that everyone understands it, but I tend to lean more toward history, so I don’t forget Pearl Harbor,” he said. “Today is a good tribute to them.” 
DiPersio played taps on his trumpet during the Tuesday ceremony. 
And for their part, post chaplain George MacLean of Salem said local veterans will continue to keep that memory alive. 
“We do this every year just to remember them and to show our little bit of patriotism,” said MacLean, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. “People from the community should remember Pearl Harbor Day because it’s just like 9/11. It’s a day to remember.” 

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