Thursday marks 76 years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and decades later, it is still felt by many.
- Benefits, assistance being offered to veterans
- 2 Pearl Harbor sailors to be posthumously awarded
Several American ships were destroyed that day. The USS Arizona remains underwater along with the remains of some of its crewmembers.
The attack left 2,403 Americans dead and nearly 1,200 more wounded.
And while the attack led America into World War II, it still makes an impact on Americans generations later.
With nearly 27 years in the United States Navy, and decades in Veteran’s Affairs, Thomas Fletcher says helping fellow vets is now his passion, but he says too often, veterans do not seek out the services they rightly deserve.
“Believe it or not, many of them are reluctant to come forward because they feel like somebody else deserves the benefit that they really do deserve and this is one of the drawbacks that we’ve seen over the years,” says Fletcher, the chairman at Veterans Memorial Park & Museum in Hillsborough County.
However, Fletcher said there is now a solution.
A brand new Veterans Resource Center, located at 3602 N. US Highway 301, is adjacent to the Veterans Memorial Park. Nearly a decade in the making, this will be a location for veterans to apply for benefits and seek other assistance.
Eventually Fletcher said the facility would be the location would be the hub for veterans and their families seeking support from a variety of agencies.
“It provides a very honorable and respectable place for veterans to come and receive support and get help,” he said.
Across the country, two sailors who were at Pearl Harbor are being posthumously awarded medals for their service.
Two men are being posthumously awarded medals for helping save the lives of their fellow sailors during the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Navy said Monday the late Lt. j.g. Aloysious Schmitt is being recognized for sacrificing his own life while helping his shipmates escape their capsizing battleship. The USS Oklahoma chaplain is being awarded the Silver Star.
Chief Boatswain’s Mate Joseph George of the USS Vestal is being awarded the Bronze Star for saving the lives of several sailors from the USS Arizona. George tossed the sailors a rope they used to crawl to safety as flames engulfed the Arizona.
George died in 1996.
The Navy will present their families with the medals.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.