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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 10:45 a.m., Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Flag-raising stirs pride among vets, families

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Edmond Chappell, national president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, salutes as the American flag is raised at the Hawai'i Convention Center this morning.

Bruce Asato • The Honolulu Advertiser

When the U.S. flag was raised outside the Hawai'i Convention Center today, the men of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Associaton came to attention. They stood as tall as age allowed, as proud as veterans could be.

It was another brief moment of recognition in a week rapidly filling with warm praise, hearty handshakes and genuine respect for the survivors of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack.

About 120 people, most of them survivors of the attack, were present today. The association has 2,200 people in Hawai'i for Friday's observance of the 60th anniversary of the attack.

Family members watched today with broad grins. Febbie Allen is here with her grandfather — former Marine John Wood Sr. — and six other relatives from Kentucky and Tennessee.

"I'm just proud of my grandfather and the service he gave our country," Allen said. "It makes us proud all around."

The family visited the USS Arizona Memorial on Saturday. It was Allen's first trip there. It added a new dimension to her grandfather's family legacy.

"I was very excited to see it, having heard all his stories," she said. "But when you get there, it is a humbling experience."

Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris welcomed the survivors today. He told them their day of infamy moved a nation to win a war against tyranny.

"Your stories were stories of courage and great inspiration," he said. "Each of these stories need to be told so this nation never forgets."

And now, 60 years later, the nation needs that kind of inspiration to fight the war on terrorism, he told the veterans.

"It is a different war, where the front lines are the streets of our cities," he said. "My hope is my generation can show the same type of courage and dedication your generation showed."

Reach Mike Gordon at mgordon@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8012.