Local Veterans Mark 80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Tuesday marks the 80th anniversary of the attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu that sparked the nation's entrance into World War II.
About 80 servicemen from Berkshire County were stationed at or near Pearl Harbor when it was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, including more than 40 from Dalton and Pittsfield.
Two of them were killed in action during the surprise strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy: Petty Officer 3rd Class Roman Sadlowski and Army Air Forces 1st Sgt. Edward Burns.
The 18-year-old Sadlowski from Pittsfield was an electrician's mate when he died on the USS Oklahoma, which was struck by multiple Japanese torpedoes and sunk.
Burns, also a Pittsfield native, was 24 years old when he was severely wounded in the attack and died several days later. He was attached to a squadron that had arrived in Hawaii only two days prior to the attack and was the first soldier killed from his station at Wheeler Field in Oahu.
Local veterans gathered at the South Street Memorial Park on Tuesday to honor those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor.
Mayor Linda Tyer was not able to attend the ceremony but sent a communication for Veterans Service Officer John Herrera to read.
"Today on this 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, we along with our fellow Americans across the country solemnly remember the magnitude of that tragic and fateful day. We remember the many service members who lost their lives. We remember how it forever changed our country in unimaginable ways," Tyer wrote.
"And while we know that these memories aren't without pain, we recognize that it is through the remembering that we give lasting honor to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Let today and the anniversaries to follow stand as a powerful testament to their service and dedication of which time knows no bounds."
Herrera read an article from the History Channel that detailed the destruction.
A total of 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 more wounded. Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged during the attack and more than 200 aircraft were destroyed.
He also announced that the Office of Veterans Services will be moving from City Hall to the first floor of the Council on Aging building at the Ralph J. Froio Senior Center. The move will happen in the next month and a half.
Veteran George Moran read the speech that President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 8, 1941, just one day after the attack and veteran Ron Rousseau read the names of Dalton and Pittsfield residents who were killed or present at the naval base in Honolulu or the nearby airfield.
Taps was played by veterans Joseph DeFilippo and Skip Hoskeer and the Christmas tree was lit by veteran Robert "Doc" Miller.
Below are the names of county residents who were present or killed; those with an asterisk (*) next to their names are known to be deceased.
JOHN J. BILODEAU
EDWARD BURNS *
ROBERT C. BURT*
JAMES W DRAIN
GEORGE F DROSEHN*
JOHN W KROSS*
ROMAN SADLOWSKI *
LAURIELE I. ST. JACOUES
LOUIS J. SCULLY JR.
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