Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 27, 2013

Pearl Harbor veteran to be honored

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — Pearl Harbor veteran John Spears of Ashland will be honored during a ceremony at the Ashland Elks Lodge Sunday afternoon.

“He was there on the day the Japanese hit Pearl Harbor and he survived it,” said Past Exalted Ruler Larry Gates, organizer of the annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day at Ashland Elks Lodge 350.

“This service allows us to pay a final tribute to our departed members and their families,” Gates added, emphasizing the ceremony is open to the public and guests are encouraged to attend.

Gates said Navy veteran John Spears, who was serving at Pearl Harbor when the American naval base in Hawaii was subjected to a Sunday morning aerial assault by members of the Japanese Imperial Navy. The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, and each of the eight U.S. Navy battleships docked there were damaged, with four being sunk. All but one of the battleships were later raised, with six returning to service as part of the American effort during World War II. Japanese forces also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and a minelayer. In total, 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed, with 2,402 Americans killed and 1,282 wounded.

Often overlooked,  Japanese forces also launched simultaneous attacks at strategic locations in the U.S.-held Philippine Islands, as well as on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Rev. Gary Simpson of Holy Family Catholic Church will serve as the guest speaker, with Jerry Moore as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day speaker. Greg Collinsworth will provide musical selections and members of VFW Post 8850, of Ironton, will serve as color guard for the remembrance ceremony.

Cake and coffee will be served after the ceremony. For more information, call (606) 324-5720.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com.