By Rachael Stewart
Wednesday, Dec. 7 marks the 75th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, and Tony Ward of Berwyn has decided to give the surviving veterans of the attack “one last hoorah” to thank them for their service to their country.
At 7 a.m. Wednesday, veterans of the Pearl Harbor attack will board a bus at Berwyn City Hall and head to Navy Pier where at 7:50 a.m. they will place a wreath to float in Lake Michigan to honor those who perished in the bombing.
After returning to Berwyn there will be a public service at 11 a.m. at Berwyn City Hall. The American flag will be lowered to half-staff, a bugler will play and a volley will be fired. Ward will honor each veteran individually with a certificate of honor for their service.
Berwyn Mayor, Robert Lovero, says “The City of Berwyn is pleased to host the remembrance ceremony honoring the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor with the Combined Veterans of Berwyn.” He continues saying “ I encourage all Berwyn residents to join me in front of Berwyn City Hall, 6700 W. 26thSt at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 in honoring the lives lost on this infamous day in our Nation’s history.”
Ward, who is a woodworker, says he began doing research on Pearl Harbor a year ago when he was healing from a surgery. He spent seven months extensively researching the topic and built an exact replica of the USS Arizona ship at Pearl Harbor as a memorial which will also be at the ceremony. His replica has traveled around and has been displayed at the Edward Hines Jr. Veteran’s Administration Hospital.
Ward estimates that 11 World War II veterans from central Indiana all the way to edges of Wisconsin will gather for this event. Ward says he wishes he could bring more veterans together, but he doesn’t have a facility to hold more people.
“We can’t forget these men,” Ward said. “This is an important piece of our history. Sooner or later they’re going to fade from history.”
Ward also said he wants future generations to remember to spend 10 or 15 minutes to remember the veterans and victims of the war, to continue to honor them in future years.
“In so many communities they have been forgotten,” he said.