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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, November 24, 2001

Old, young march together in war tribute

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Forty-four years before Zach Hilton was born, a ship named after his home state of West Virginia took nine torpedoes and two bombs before sinking during the Dec. 7 attack on Pearl Harbor.

A clown greets spectators at last night's Waikiki Holiday Parade. Hundreds of musicians from high school marching bands participated along with war veterans.

Jeff Widener • The Honolulu Advertiser

Last night, the junior from Greenbrier East High School in West Virginia paid tribute to the 106 men who died that day in 1941 on the USS West Virginia, and to men like Richard Fiske who survived the attack. Hilton and Fiske spoke briefly before the two took part in last night's Waikiki Holiday Parade.

"I was really amazed that he's still active and up and at it. It's really nice to see these veterans still going at it strong and supporting their country," Hilton, 16, said of the 79-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor. "That was a great experience, something that I will never forget.

Hilton was one of hundreds of high school band members from Hawai'i and other states who took part in the parade, which began at Fort DeRussy and ended at Honolulu Zoo. Thousands of people cheered as bands representing the ships that were lost on Dec. 7 and survivors of the attack made their way down Kalakaua Avenue.

The third annual event was sponsored by the Doubletree Alana Waikiki.

Fiske walked the entire route and led the Greenbrier East band. He said the parade, which also served to usher in the holiday season, meant a lot to him.

"It's going to be the last one that we're going to have here because those guys are getting old," the former West Virginia bugler said. "This one's going to be the last. That's why it's so important."

Chuck Kubly, band director of Twin Lakes High School in Monticello, Ind., brought his 121-member band to Hawai'i for the first time. The school represented the USS Indianapolis, which sank after being attacked by a Japanese submarine on July 30, 1945. More than 800 crew members died, but about 900 survived.

Kubly said the students watched videos of the Pearl Harbor attack, but their greatest lesson came when they toured the Arizona Memorial and USS Missouri.

"It was special. It was emotional for some of them," Kubly said.