RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Wednesday, people gathered at the Virginia War Memorial to honor and pay tribute to those Virginians who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom in the Pearl Harbor attack 75 years ago.
Leonard Gardner is a Pearl Harbor survivor who served in the U.S. Navy for six years.
He remembers what it was like there on December 7, 1941, when 2403 Americans were killed in a surprise attack by the Japanese.
He says, “Pearl Harbor Day, as it started out, we weren’t thinking about getting shot at. The shocking part is the sudden change in your life when this happens.”
Wednesday’s keynote speaker, Captain Derek Trinque, called to mind advances in our military and changes to diplomatic relationships that he says otherwise, may not have happened.
“All of this started with the bravery of our pearl harbor Veterans. None of it would’ve happened without their sacrifice.”, said Captain Trinque during his speech.
Gardner says he’s honored and happy that he was able to be a part of the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor saying, “It’s an honor to serve in the armed forces of the United States. It was the most important stage in my life.”