Arizona Veterans Commemorate 82nd Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Under USS Arizona Monument

Pearl Harbor survivor Ed Miklavcic Sr. places the Pearl Harbor Survivors wreath at Wesley Bolin Plaza during the Commemorating Pearl Harbor Day Ceremony hosted by Honoring America's Veterans on December 9th
December 12, 2023

PHOENIX - Gathered beneath the U.S.S. Arizona memorial in the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, Veterans and community members honored the lives lost during the attack on Pearl Harbor 82 years ago.

Dozens of Arizona Veterans organizations placed decorated wreaths around the plaza to show respect for those who were killed in action as well as those who survived and continued to serve our country.

“We think of the souls lost in a vicious attack against the sovereignty of America and as a nation in that moment commemorated today as a day that lives in infamy, we stand still united,” said Secretary of State and Marine Corp Veteran Adrian Fontes.

The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, killed more than 2,400 U.S. service members and civilians and injured another 1,100, marked the United States’ entry into World War II. The Japanese military targeted the Hawaii military base, ultimately sinking dozens of U.S. Navy battle ships— including the USS Arizona—and destroyed 188 aircrafts.

“Smoke and flame geysers 150 feet could be seen in the air as sailors scrambled, trying to save those around them, saved themselves and fight back,” said keynote speaker and Army Veteran Ian Parkinson. “So today is about commemorating those service members who deserve our respect and honor.”

This year’s anniversary also marked 10 years since Arizona erected the USS Arizona monument with the last remaining gun barrel of the original ship that sank in the 1941 attack.

Senator Ken Bennett, R-Prescott, who was instrumental in bringing the gun barrel to Arizona during his time as the 19th Secretary of State (2009-2014), described to the crowd how Phoenix came to house the military relic thanks to the generosity of the community. He spoke of the importance of honoring and remembering all of the Arizonians who lost their lives that fateful day and how their sacrifices helped protect our freedoms.

“I have learned in my life that if good people don’t get involved in our government, then we can lose our country,” Bennett said.

ADVS CEO Dana Allmond had the honor of reading off the names of each Veteran organization that presented wreaths at the ceremony.

“At WestPoint, we have a motto: duty, honor, country. And when I think about that and say that out loud, you can’t help but do a few things, you stand up straighter, you sit up straighter, you poke your chest out because those of us who have risen their hand to serve in uniform, this means a lot and when you’re in times when you’re commemorating what we are now, you hope your training kicks in and it did for the greatest generation to stand up for us and that is so special to think about that… thank you for sacrificing for us,’ CEO Allmond said.

One very special guest was in attendance to place the Pearl Harbor wreath on Saturday: Ed Miklavcic Sr., who was one of the survivors of the 1941 attack.  During the attack, Miklavcic was at the Wheeler Field Air Force Base where 25 dive bombers dropped bombs on the hangers. Two waves of Japanese airplanes strafed the American’s fighting lines before the attack ended. In the end, 38 enlisted men were killed and another 59 injured at Wheeler Field.

During the ceremony, several military traditions were honored, including a flyover, Taps and the United States Armed Forces Medley.