news richmond pearl harbor day remembrance ceremony planned for dec 7
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Richmond: Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony planned for Dec. 7

virginia war memorialThe Virginia War Memorial and the Navy League of the United States, Richmond Council, will co-host the 81st Commonwealth’s Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.

The annual ceremony will be held outdoors in the Memorial’s Shrine of Memory – 20th Century at 621 South Belvidere St.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

The keynote speaker will be Captain Gregory “Chaser” Keithley, U.S. Navy (retired), the executive director of the Tailhook Association, an independent fraternal nonprofit organization. His last active duty assignment was serving as the N40 Force Readiness Officer for Commander Naval Air Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet in San Diego, Calif. He also served as a technical advisor for the motion picture, “Top Gun-Maverick.”

The Commonwealth’s Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony will include the presentation of wreaths in memory of the Virginians who died on Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941, when the forces of Imperial Japan attacked U.S. military bases in Hawaii, including the Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. More than 2,400 Americans died and more than 1,100 were wounded during the surprise attack. Of those killed, 41 were listed as native Virginians.

“The name of each Virginian who perished on that fateful day will be read and remembered with the tolling of the ship’s bell from the guided missile cruiser USS Virginia (CGN-38), which was decommissioned in 1994,” said Patrick Harris, president of the Navy League’s Richmond Council, who will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the annual program. The bell is on permanent display at the Virginia War Memorial.

“We are pleased to continue the tradition of co-hosting the Commonwealth’s Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony with the Navy League here at the Virginia War Memorial,” said Memorial Director Dr. Clay Mountcastle. “We hope many of our fellow citizens will join us to honor and remember our fellow Virginians and all Americans who died during the surprise attack which led to the United States entering World War II.”

The Memorial will be open to the public from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Dec. 7.

The Virginians at War documentary film “Pearl Harbor” will be shown all day in the Reynolds Theater and visitors can visit the Medal of Honor Gallery and also see the exhibit, “Who They Were: Lives Worth Knowing,” which includes a tribute to John Hildebrand, Jr., a Virginia sailor who lost his life during the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.

There is no admission charge to the Memorial or for this event.

Parking is available at the Memorial and visitors should arrive by 10:45 a.m. to attend the ceremony.

For more information about the 81st Commonwealth’s Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony, visit www.vawarmemorial.org or www.dvs.virginia.gov

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.