Cathedral students participate in Pearl Harbor anniversary recognition

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It has been 77 years since President Franklin D. Roosevelt named Dec. 7, 1941, as a date that will live in infamy. The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor began the United States involvement in World War II.

The history lesson jumped off the pages of their textbooks for a group of eighth-graders at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington Dec. 7. Students joined 20 World War II veterans and Pearl Harbor survivors at the National World War II Memorial in Washington to commemorate Pearl Harbor Day.

Teacher Dina Johnston, whose uncle survived Pearl Harbor, was invited by National Park Service ranger Jennifer Epstein to bring her class to the ceremony.

Johnston was able to choose two students to participate in the wreath-laying with veterans at the memorial’s Freedom Wall.

For eighth-grader James Pohl, it was a moment to honor his great-grandfather. “He was stationed on the USS Arizona but off it when it actually got bombed,” said Pohl.

Eighth-grader Colin Richardson remembered a close family friend — Joanna Blake, the now-deceased artist who sculpted friezes at the memorial.

“I’m honored because it’s something that is a big deal that not a lot of people get the honor to participate in,” Richardson said. “It’s good to pay respects to the people from World War II and Pearl Harbor.”

Richardson was grateful for the opportunity to listen to the stories of the veterans. “It was nice to meet and stand with them,” he said. “I learned how something like this brings (memories) back for the veterans and (this ceremony) helps them get noticed more.”

Johnston said it was important for the students to be part of the event. “They need to recognize what the men and women in the war did for this country and what the survivors of Pearl Harbor went through.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018

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