Pastor Attends Pearl Harbor Ceremony

by Kathy Marson

Ray Garland (left), is wearing his original army uniform which still fits him perfectly. Garland is the youngest Pearl Harbor survivor at age 92 of the local PHSA. He is signing the book, Radio Man for Pastor Andrew Abbott on the right.

SPOKANE, Wash., December 10, 2014  -  At a special dinner for veterans hosted by the Spokane Valley Adventist School in November, Andrew Abbott heard about Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Andrew is the associate pastor at Spokane Valley Adventist Church and he meets with the students regularly for worships and spiritual events.

As he talked with the lady who runs the local Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, she invited Andrew and the students to come and participate in Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day at the newly installed 7-foot granite memorial stone on the southeast corner of the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.

“We were hoping to bring the school kids to the event,” said Andrew. But it did not work out so Andrew went as a representative Sunday, Dec 7 at 2 p.m.

“It was a powerful ceremony,” said Andrew. “Their stories were stirring.” The account of dive bombers attacking ships, low flying waves of Japanese planes soaring across the bay and tales of planes exploding and ships sinking brought forth visible emotion and tears from the survivors. Ray Garland told of his best bud who was killed when the Arizona was hit, emotions welling up inside. Andrew said, "War changes people for the rest of their life."

The ceremony featured the Honor Guard from Fairchild Air force Base performing a marching routine and a 21 gun salute. Andrew said, “I was inspired as the five remaining veterans approached the monument and reverently placed a Hawaiian garland at the base of it.”

Out of 125 original members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, there are five remaining, ageing from 92 to 99.

“After the ceremony, I met with each of the veterans, shook their hands and asked if they would sign the front leaf of a book,” said Andrew. The book, Radio Man, is a firsthand record of the Pearl Harbor attack from a Spokane resident who recently passed away. Andrew was able to get signatures from all five of the survivors.

Andrew will be sharing his experience with the students from SVAS. He said, “I made plenty of memories that day!”

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