Posts Tagged ‘Pearl Harbor Day in Ocean Grove’

Ocean Grove Fishing Pier. A wreath was tossed into the ocean from a small boat. 2011.  Paul Goldfinger photograph.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger  (text and photos)

It was a gloomy, rainy day Wednesday, December 7, 2011.  A small crowd had assembled at the end of the fishing pier for this annual event. But this time it was extra special. Not only is it the 70th anniversary of  a vicious attack against our country, which killed over 2000 people and nearly destroyed the Pacific Fleet, but very few of the veterans are still around to participate. The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association will be disbanded at the end of this year.

We spoke with Bob Hodges of Neptune. Bob is the Senior Vice Commander of the Monmouth County American Legion (see photo below). He is 83 years old and he spent 20 years in the Army, being involved in three wars. He was an 18-year-old “kid” from Chicago when he entered the service in 1946. His first deployment was in occupied Japan. He is an official WWII vet because, although the shooting stopped in 1945, the war was not officially over until 1946. He participated in the Battle of Pusan  (Korea) when UN forces, including Americans, successfully fought off a North Korean Army advance. He also was in Vietnam. He limps a bit due to some knee problems, but he seems quite vigorous, and he has a great sense of humor.

Today there were representatives of veterans’ groups, individual veterans in their special hats, politicians, and citizens. Because of the rain, a brief ceremony was held inside the OG Fishing Club house. A wreath was tossed into the ocean from the deck of a small boat that was bobbing vigorously in the water. We shot the photo gallery in black and white because the vast majority of WWII photography was done monochrome.

Bob Hodges of Neptune: 83-year-old Army vet, Senior Vice Commander of Monmouth American Legion.

Albert Hairston, Quartermaster of Neptune VFW Post 2639. Served in the Army 1945-1975

After the event: chatting on the pier.

The rain didn’t bother the visitors. They were proud to be present.

2020 update:  Sorry for being one day late.  It was unavoidable.  Never forget is an often used slogan, but we, as a society, must remember as well as look forward.  WWII was an event that overwhelmed the entire world, and the danger was a take-over of democracies like ours by two maniacal countries which murdered many and which would have killed even more if given the opportunity.

America, a beautiful and honorable nation, set aside isolationism and paid a huge price for its part in saving the world.  We must not forget those who sacrificed but also we remember in order to learn lessons for our country.  The price was paid, and we must be conscious of what needs protecting in the USA.  Never forget.

Paul Goldfinger,  JWV Post 125, Monmouth County.

MUSIC:  The main title theme from the HBO miniseries:  The Pacific: “Honor”

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December 7, 2013. OG Fishing Pier. Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©


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Pearl Harbor Day in Ocean Grove, NJ.  Photo by Jane Killilea. Left click for full view

Pearl Harbor Day in Ocean Grove, NJ.  Pictured is the Neptune H.S. Junior ROTC Color Guard.  Left click for full view.   Photo by Jane Killilea (OG)

By Mary Walton

In years past, the annual Pearl Harbor Day remembrance has been staged on the western tip of the Ocean Grove fishing pier. After a brief ceremony, a wreath is passed to a police launch, from which it is cast out to sea.

Last year, thanks to Hurricane Irene, “We had only half a pier, so we had to do it on the east side,” said Ocean Grove Fishing Club president Al Dawson, a Korean War veteran. The boat played its customary role.

This year, there was no pier. The fragmented section that remains after Hurricane Sandy’s blitz is cordoned off by the orange netting used to signal danger. No pier, so no boat. It didn’t make sense to have a boat when no one could walk out on the pier, because “you wouldn’t be able to see it,” Dawson said.

But it takes more than a couple of hurricanes to derail a longstanding ceremony commemorating the infamous day when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and triggered the United States’ entry into World War II. On Friday a small crowd of dedicated observers gathered in light rain for a prayer and a speech, a rifle volley and a moving rendition of Taps by Harry Eichhorn and Ed Wyzykowsky on trumpets.

The rain and the change in location, compounded by a newspaper notice in which the time was misstated by half an hour, made for a situation that “was confusing,” Dawson said. He held out hope that next year the ceremony can return to a rebuilt pier.

SOUNDTRACK.  From the album “World War II Radio Hits” Frances Langford sings “As Time Goes By”:

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