December 7, 2008

Concert marks Pearl Harbor attack

By Jeff DeLong

The bombs that ushered America into World War II were remembered with bursts of music Sunday during a community concert in Carson City.

The 67th anniversary of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor was a focus of a concert by the Capital City Community Band, which mixed holiday tunes with music honoring the military on one of the country's most infamous anniversaries.

"I think we should honor them and not forget them," said the band's director, Richard Doede.

Flutes, trombones, horns and trumpets produced the tunes marking the attack and subsequent battles through such songs as "Victory at Sea."

At 7:55 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese war planes rained bombs and torpedoes on Pearl Harbor and other military installations on the island of Oahu, killing about 2,400 Americans and injuring nearly 1,180.

Twelve naval vessels were sunk with 1,177 sailors and Marines killed aboard one vessel alone -- the USS Arizona, which exploded and sank in less than nine minutes. Remains of the Arizona's dead still are inside the vessel, which lies underneath the Pearl Harbor Memorial.

Doede became emotional while introducing the song "Guadalcanal March," telling of a hometown friend from the North Dakota National Guard who died in combat on the jungle island.

"I think we owe it to the people who served there -- to recall this as a special day," said 71-year-old Bob Prater of Carson City, a Navy veteran.

Fewer and fewer Pearl Harbor survivors are around to commemorate the attack, Prater said.

William Schmidt, a 74-year-old Marine veteran from Minden who fought in the Korean War, said he believes far too few Americans pay proper respect to veterans despite that two wars are under way today.

"If it wasn't for the military, we'd be speaking some other language," Schmidt said. "We don't get the respect that we should have. People don't care."

Somebody who does care is 16-year-old Rachel Jeauxdevine of the Carson High School Naval Junior ROTC. At the start of Sunday's concert, cadets displayed the American and Nevada flags and the colors of all branches of the U.S. military.

"It's important because we should always support the people who protect our country because they have done so much for us," she said. "They keep our country safe."