POOLER, Ga. (15/5/2011) – When Spc. Justin Moore, a
Knighthawk soldier from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade,
stepped into the Rotunda of the Mighty Eighth Air Force
Museum, he said he was taken aback with humility. Not only
because of the historical regalia on display, but at the
presence of so many World War II veterans.
Pvt. Matthew W. Cline, an aviation operations specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, leads the Knighthawk firing squad into position during the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony Dec. 4, 2011 at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum of Pooler, Ga. Nine 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade soldiers fired a 21-gun salute to honor the fallen American defenders. Photo by Army Sgt. Luke Rollins
“It made me look at what I've done so far, and what everyone else
has done,” said Moore, an air traffic control equipment repairman.
“I've been to Afghanistan, and we lost people. It's interesting to
know that we all feel the same thing.”
Moore and eight other
soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, acted as the
firing squad for the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony Dec. 4 at
the museum, capping the day's program with a 21-gun salute in honor
of America's fallen defenders.
The soldiers were not the only
active-duty service members to participate. The event's guest
speaker Capt. Joseph Creed, the commanding officer of the USS
Normandy of Norfolk Naval Operating Base, Va., brought a contingent
of sailors as well. Sea Cadets from the Savannah Squadron, US Naval
Sea Cadet Corps presented and retired the colors.
Corps veteran Joe Conners, who was
recognized as the Veterans Council of Chatham County Veteran of the
Year, said that though he enjoyed the day's ceremony, the resurfaced
memories felt like the stings of old wounds.
“Sure, I'll reflect on them, but sometimes I'd rather forget
them,” said Conners.
Conners said he remembers the
moment he first heard about the attacks on Pearl Harbor. He
was ten, out with his father at the movies, when a theater
employee stopped the show.
“A guy came out on the
stage and told all military personnel to report to their
units right away,” said Conners. “He wouldn't say why, and
my daddy said ‘Uh-oh.'” They later learned the reason from a
local fireman on the way home.
It's a story that
echoes the where-were-you tales of another homeland attack:
the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, which made veterans out of
young men such as Spc. Justin Moore.
involvement in the day's ceremony, Moore said he gained a
deeper appreciation of events honoring veterans.
made me happy, but it also made me sad, because I feel we
should be doing more events like this,” he said, and added
that he plans to attend memorial ceremonies well after his
active-duty days are done.
When that day comes, and
today's veterans are as old as Joe Conners, our future
warriors will be there, honoring their predecessors.
More photos available below
By Army Sgt. Luke Rollins
3rd Combat Aviation Brigade
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