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Remembering Pearl Harbor

Let’s take time today on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor to honor our Alaska Pioneer Home residents who served in World War II. Dec. 7, 2018 marks the 77th anniversary of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor that launched the United States’ entry into World War II.

During that two-hour surprise attack by the Japanese, more than 2,300 American military personnel lost their lives. The successful attack on Oahu required the Japanese military to conduct perfect planning, rigorous training and to deploy new technology resulting in the greatest concentration of naval air power in history. The naval fleet compiled for this attack consisted of 67 ships (including six aircraft carriers and numerous submarines) and more than 350 aircraft. Tensions had been building for more than 10 years between United States and Japan. Heavy, disputed sanctions that the United States had levied against Japan in an attempt to reign in Japan’s invasions of its neighboring countries brought the conflict to a head. After political negotiations failed, Japan determined the best way to resolve the sanctions was to execute a crippling blow to the United States Pacific naval fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. According to the National World War II Museum and the U.S. Department of Veterans (VA), of the 16 million Americans who fought in World War II only 496,777 are still alive today. The average age of the “youngest” remaining veterans is 94 years old, and statistics show that we are losing them fast. It is estimated that 348 World War II veterans pass away every day.

As such, it is the Alaska Pioneer Home’s encouragement to you that if you should encounter a World War II veteran today, shake their hand and touch a living piece of history before it’s too late. “The Greatest Generation” has much to teach us if we are willing to listen, so perhaps the situations they survived may not be doomed to repeat themselves. According to The National World War II Museum, as of 2018 there are 286 World War II veterans living in Alaska. Of those 286, more than 15 reside in our six Alaska Pioneer Homes. We are blessed and honored to be able to serve them and to hear their stories.

In remembrance of all those who fought and died during the Pearl Harbor attack and the rest of World War II, if you meet a veteran be sure to thank them for their service. Politely ask them if they don’t mind sharing their story of the war. These veterans are disappearing fast and their stories will be lost forever unless enough of us hear them and pass them on to future generations.

Below are photos of our veterans who are members of our Alaska Pioneer Homes family. Thank you for your service to our country.

  Stanley Coleman
Hallie DixonRoger Anderson
 Hallie Dixon and Miss Alaska, Angelina Klapperich.Chancy PriceUrban Rahoi
 Bob Johnson and wife Audrey
Brad Finch and daughter Jeannine Alfred Willis
Horace Anderson and Hallie Dixon

    From top, left to right: Stanley Coleman; Hallie Dixon and furry friend; Roger Anderson; Hallie Dixon with Miss Alaska, Angelina Klapperich; Clancy Price; Urban Rahoi; Bob Jobson and wife, Audrey; Norris Finch and daughter, Jeannine; Alfred Willis and his quilt of valor; Horace Anderson and Hallie Dixon share a memory.