Pearl Harbor Recognition Program
In remembrance of the Pearl Harbor attack 75 years ago, on December 7, 1941, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community raised a special USS Arizona Memorial flag on December 7 outside the Community Building.
The remembrance attracted dozens of veterans from the Community and beyond, including World War II U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Community member Paul Thomas.
SRPMIC President Delbert Ray, Sr. shared some facts about the Pearl Harbor attack in his speech and thanked all the veterans who served. He also recognized Thomas’ presence and thanked him. Thomas, 93, is believed to be the last remaining Community World War II veteran.
“I just wanted to say thank you to the people in that era, during wartime and those to follow,” Ray said. “It is a necessary fight that the United States has to maintain in order to remain a free country.”
|The Salt River Police Department receives commerative blueprints from USS Arizona in appreciation for their assistance with the 75th rememberance of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. (l-r) Lt. Anthony Sandoval, Thomas Jackson, of the Huhugam Ki Museum, and Commander James Sutphen.
Submitted by SRPD.
The flag flew high above the Community Building’s parking lot from the top of a Salt River Fire Department truck ladder. The flag was flown for about two hours during the speaking part of the ceremony before being lowered and taken inside the Community Building.
The flag, which the Community received a little more than 10 years ago, rests in the Huhugam Ki Museum’s repository and is only displayed on the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. The USS Arizona was bombed at Pearl Harbor and sank.
SRPMIC Vice-President Martin Harvier delivered the invocation, and Council members Jenelle Howard, David Antone, Ricardo Leonard, Tom Largo and Deanna Scabby attended the roughly three-hour remembrance. Leonard sang a traditional O’odham song.
|SRPMIC Community members Lynwood Vest and Ronnie Mack lead a group of veterans with the flag into the Community building. Vest and Mack sang traditional Piipaash songs.|
Representatives of the Salt River fire and police departments posted and retrieved the colors. The American Legion Post 114 Bushmasters Women’s Auxiliary gave the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Arizona Territorial Brass Band performed the national anthem and other songs, including the “Armed Forces Medley,” during which veterans in the crowd were encouraged to stand as their military branch’s song was played.
|SRPMIC President Delbert Ray, Sr.||Post 114 Commander Darrell Hills.|
A free breakfast was provided at the closing of the ceremony.
A profile of Paul Thomas is slated to appear in the next issue of Au-Authm Action News.