“I thought it fitting since Charles City had three men who died on the Arizona that morning to have a ceremony to honor that day and those men,” Anthony says, “as well as our World War Two veterans, since their numbers are thinning out.” There will be many guests of honor at the event, including a very special guest from eastern Iowa.
“Francis Riley out of Cedar Rapids will be here and he is a Pearl Harbor survivor,” Anthony says. “He was on board the USS Vestal that morning, which was moored next to the Arizona. Vestal was a repair ship getting ready to install radar on the Arizona so he was right next to it when the bomb fell on the Arizona that caused the explosion that caused the mass casualties on the ship that morning.”
Many area organizations have been involved in planning the event and Charles City school students will show off displays they made depicting the attack. Anthony is hoping for a large group of World War Two veterans to attend the event.
“Our guest speaker is Commander Rachel Fails, she’s in charge of the Iowa National Guard, so we’ve invited her,” Anthony says. “It’s going to be partly a typical patriotic ceremony, like you would go to a Veterans Day program, but this one is going to be specially geared toward Pearl Harbor and our World War Two veterans.”
Anthony says more than 226,000 Iowans served during World War Two and nearly 8,400 of them were killed in the war. The event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at 500 North Grand Avenue Auditorium, formerly the Charles City Middle School.
(By Chris Berg, KCHA, Charles City)