Texas A&M Cadets To Join Tampa Pearl Harbor Day Cruise

The American Victory Ship cruising in the channel with the Tampa Convention Center and downtown skyline in the background.

The United States will mark the 76th Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the country’s official entry into World War II on Dec. 7, 2017. And Tampa’s own World War II American Victory Ship plans to commemorate Pearl Harbor Day with a cruise Saturday, Dec. 2nd.

On board, there will be infantry re-enactors, big band music, “bomber girls” and other entertainment.

The American Victory Ship started its service in the Merchant Marine in June 1945 carrying troops and supplies to the war front. The vessel served in Korea and Vietnam before being turned into a floating museum and memorial on Tampa’s waterfront.

The cruise, from noon to 4:30 p.m., also pays tribute to WWII veterans and will include a ceremony commemorating Pearl Harbor Day. The ship is docked behind the Florida Aquarium, 705 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Ticket information is available on the AMVIC website.

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Pearl Harbor Attack: A “Day That Will Live in Infamy”

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (Sept. 3, 2011) Sailors and Marines render honors as the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) passes the USS Arizona Memorial before departing Pearl Harbor following a port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Tidd.

Fewer than 3,000 Pearl Harbor survivors remain as witnesses of “a day that will live in infamy. ”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech here:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our secretary of state a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

Pearl Harbor: Day Of Infamy Synopsis

A three hour documentary about Pearl Harbor containing over 25 survivor interviews revealing eyewitness accounts from both American and Japanese veterans. Witness the events of December 7, 1941, as a Japanese carrier fleet launches a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and the island of Oahu which ultimately demolished the United States Pacific Fleet in under one hour. Approximately 2,500 American lives were lost and numerous US military battleships and aircraft were destroyed.

Pearl Harbor: An account from the VA blog:

It was a quiet and beautiful Sunday morning at Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor—home of America’s Pacific Fleet.  Many of the 60,000 Sailors and other military personnel stationed there were still in their bunks resting after a Saturday night on the town. Some were eating breakfast; a few were on duty, others just straggling in. What appeared to be another day in paradise would quickly turn into a nightmare.

At five minutes before 8:00 AM on December 7, 1941, 183 Japanese aircraft raced across the mountains north of Pearl Harbor with a mission to destroy the U.S. Fleet. Bombs were dropped on fuel and ammunition dumps, buildings, and ships. Japanese pilots strafed the same with wing-mounted machine guns while others dropped torpedoes.

The attack was a surprise. Some Sailors went down with their ships. Some were trapped only to drown inside as water replaced the air in the sinking ship.

Some had to choose between staying aboard a doomed ship, or take a chance by diving into a harbor aflame with burning oil, littered with the dead bodies of their fellow service members.  It was truly a living hell.

You can read the full article from the VA blog, VAntage, HERE.

Former College Student, Now Army Wife After 9/11: I Get It …

The Dorr family when Jackie's husband returned from his fourth deployment in their five years of marriage.

Today is September 11, 2011. Ten years ago I was standing in my dorm room at the University of Florida, getting ready for my first class of the day, with the Today Show on in the background. I watched in disbelief as the first plane flew into the first tower. Like many Americans my first reaction was to pick up the phone and call someone, I called my mom. She was equally as shocked. Then there it was, a second plane. It’s a day my children will learn about in history class years from now, much like Pearl Harbor Day, yet they will never grasp the immense devastation this nation felt.

My father was still active duty at the time, and my family lived on Keesler AFB, a mere six hour drive from UF. My brother was still in high school, and he described that September day to me once I came back for a visit. School buses were stopped at the gates in backed up traffic, students were being checked for ID cards. Armed airmen patrolled the neighborhood by foot, etc.

Knowing that war was inevitable, I had made a decision that I wouldn’t ever marry anyone in the military. The future was uncertain, but one thing I think most people knew was that this wouldn’t be a quick fight, it would last a while.

My husband enlisted into the delayed entry program in 2002, a few years before we met. So here I am in a life I swore I wouldn’t live, raising children with a soldier, realizing that it is mission first. Being around the military changes your perspective on things, and last night couldn’t make that more clear.

Last night was date night, so Brian took me to the movies. I got dressed up, as did he and we made our way to the now outrageously overpriced movie theater. We had already decided weeks ago that we wanted to see “warrior”.

The main character is a Marine, and we find out later in the movie he deserted his unit in Iraq after being the only survivor of a friendly fire attack. The actual movie was naturally more drawn out and much more dramatic than that tiny snippet but that part resonated in my head. When you hear deserter you get mad, one thinks of a coward, traitor…. Right?

Paisley Dorr holding her and her sister's Daddy Dolls as she waits for her Daddy to come home March 2011.

I felt for him, on the drive home Brian and I discussed it, we understood it, did we think it was okay? No, of course not, but we got it. It reminded me on some level of a time when Brian was heading back after his R & R and there was a soldier who was catching a flight, but was meant to catch one on the previous day. I struck up conversation with him, while we stood in line at security. His family clung to him, much like I was clinging to Brian. I asked why he had missed his flight the day before, and he began to tell me how it was intentional.

He had contemplated deserting, never returning, it was his fourth deployment and he was tired. His sense kicked in, realizing the punishment wouldn’t get him what he wanted either, which was to be with his family, watch his children grow, be with his wife day in and day out. I find myself wondering what happened to him, and remember the feeling of shock at the time as I heard his story, but now….. I get it.

Someday children will read about all of this in history books, much like I read about WWI, WWII, and Vietnam. However, history books can never capture the human life experience that is living it. A history book won’t make someone say “I get it…’

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