The U.S. Navy kicked off a monthly ceremony at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center Thursday morning called “Pearl Harbor Colors.”
The inaugural event, titled “A Tribute to Military Families,” was meant to be an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the military and connect with veterans, service members and their families.
“We have millions and millions of visitors who come here every month, here to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, and this is just another way to quite simply to bring them into the history of the U.S. Navy, which is so rich here at Pearl Harbor,” said Capt. Stan Keeve Jr., commander, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
But Thursday’s ceremony turned out to be much more, thanks to an unexpected member in the audience.
WWII veteran Edwin Hamilton just happened to be visiting the park that day.
He carried photos of his service in Hawaii and the Pacific, and shared stories with some of the Navy’s top brass–stories that are now more than 70 years old.
“The battles were rough,” Hamilton said. “The worst thing was the Kamikazes. They hit our ship good off Okinawa. We lost a fire room, engine room, one propeller. That whole side of the ship wasn’t working. If the one bomb hadn’t have fallen off we would have went down. We were picking up survivors of the (destroyers USS) Bush and Calhoun.”
This was the Boston native’s first time back to Pearl Harbor since 1946, and visiting this hallowed ground was emotional.
“My daughter wanted to do this for me, so we’re here,” he said.
It seemed appropriate for the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band to play “Anchors Away” with a Navy veteran in the crowd.
The timing of the first “Pearl Harbor Colors” couldn’t have been better for one of the heroes of this great nation.
Click here for more information about “Pearl Harbor Colors.”